By Abbie Yarger
The project. To create an appropriate atmosphere for the NHL’s Winter Classic, held on New Year’s Day at Wrigley Field in Chicago. More than 40,000 fans attended the game, played by the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings.
The companies. The NHL selected Flying Colors, Berkeley, Calif., for the Wrigley Field makeover because of its experience on large-scale sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game. Flying Colors partnered with Flags Unlimited, Barrie, Ontario, and OAI Corp., Tampa, Fla., on production, and with JPD Graphics Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill., on labor.
The task. To transform Wrigley Field into a wintery setting for the game, while paying tribute to the history of the venue and hockey as American icons.
The challenge. Balancing the tradition and winter themes in the design, while executing the project outdoors.
“The harsh climate of a Chicago winter created a challenging installation, as we had to continually deal with sub-freezing temperatures and blustery winds,” says David Kerchman, president of Flying Colors.
The solution. Planning, preparation and commitment made installation safe and timely. Flying Colors constructed a scaffold structure wrapped in perforated banner mesh/100-percent knit polyester substrate, which featured images printed with a Digitex digital imaging system and inspired by the original brick wall from Wrigley Field. Similar digital images lined the ice rink. The crew chose the same substrate for a fence wrap, which included images printed with a Zimmer flatbed automated printer. A Duraknit 100-percent knit polyester substrate printed with a Digitex digital imaging system covered dasher boards and broadcast booths. An Ultraflex 7-ounce, PVC-coated 60/40 polyester mesh with images from a Vutek 5330 solvent printer were used for exterior large-scale building graphics and the center field scaffold roof graphic.
The result. Flying Colors succeeded in creating the ideal environment. The references to old Wrigley Field, coupled with the winter-themed graphics, created a setting in which fans could enjoy the game and be reminded of the tradition of the sport and its pond hockey roots.