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NHL Winter Classic moves from day to night to avoid rain

December 31, 2010 |  2:44 pm

The NHL has moved the Winter Classic's 1 p.m. EST start time to 8 p.m., or 5 p.m. on the West Coast, to avoid the rain that is expected to hit the Pittsburgh area -- and Heinz Field -- on New Year's Day.

The league said its decision was based on the latest meteorological reports, which warn of an approaching front of potentially steady rain through Saturday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals, national broadcast partners (NBC, CBC, RDS), the Pittsburgh Steelers, the National Hockey League Players' Assn., and local officials were consulted before the decision was made.  

In a news release, the league said, "We have been further advised that cooler and drier air conditions are expected in the evening with the passing of the front. The NHL feels that it was important to make this announcement at this time so as to minimize the inconvenience to all parties associated with the event, especially our fans."

-- Debbie Goffa