SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The outdoor minor league hockey game between Stockton and Bakersfield on Friday night was postponed because of heavy rain.
Officials made the decision to push back the game until Saturday after a thunderstorm that swept through in the afternoon and continued throughout the evening covered the rink set up at Raley Field, home of the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A baseball team. Several attempts were made to clear the ice and the start time was pushed back twice before it the game was postponed out of safety concerns.
“For the safety of our players and officials and the comfort of our fans, it was decided to postpone tonight’s game until tomorrow afternoon,” said Jason Chaimovitch, vice president of communications for the American Hockey League. “We have been monitoring the radar and have been in regular communication with both teams and the event organizers throughout the evening, and a 4:30 start on Saturday will be in everyone’s best interests.”
The game between the two AHL teams is part of a six-week event at Raley Field dubbed the “Biggest Show on Snow.”
The Stockton Heat are the Calgary Flames’ top affiliate, and the Bakersfield Condors are the Edmonton Oilers’ farm club.
The rink is positioned over the infield, with one end near home plate and the other in short centerfield. A giant slide that was part of the 2015 NHL All-Star game was set up in left field.
Fans wearing rain gear and holding umbrellas began lining up 90 minutes before the scheduled start. Once the gates were opened, a few fans braved the weather and sat in their seats but most stood in the concourse or underneath overhangs.
Some fans left long before the postponement was announced and there were still long lines of others waiting to get in. The postponement was followed by a small chorus of boos from the soggy crowd.
One young fan who wasn’t wearing a jacket decided to have fun in spite of the bad weather and rolled himself down the hill just beyond the outfield wall.