Massive winter storm leaves sports in deep freeze
Even the Super Bowl guy known as “The Freezer” said this winter weather was a bit much.
“Too cold,” Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji said Tuesday while workers shoveled and scraped icy walkways outside Cowboys Stadium. “Feels like the AC is on.”
A massive storm that blanketed much of the country took its toll on the sports world. An NHL game in St. Louis was postponed, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors were stranded and a roof panel at Wrigley Field blew off while Chicago got battered.
College games were affected, too, with teams shifting their travel plans and switching start times.
With Milwaukee under a blizzard warning until Wednesday afternoon, the Villanova women’s basketball team was snowed in after its 62-57 loss at No. 23 Marquette. The game began two hours earlier than originally scheduled.
“A friend actually texted me earlier this morning and said there’s ‘life-threatening conditions’ so I knew we weren’t going anywhere,” said Villanova’s Heather Scanlon, who scored 15 points.
The St. Louis Blues saw plenty of snow and ice, but no Avalanche. The Blues’ home game against Colorado was postponed because of the hazardous conditions. The NHL will set a makeup date.
The Celtics stayed in Sacramento after beating the Kings 95-90 Tuesday night.
“We would have preferred to go further East, just so we can get closer to our time zone,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
The Raptors, meanwhile, still hoped to make it to Atlanta for Wednesday night’s game. In the meantime, they were stuck in Indianapolis for the second straight day.
The Raptors were supposed to fly out of Indy after Monday night’s 104-93 loss to the Pacers, but their flight was canceled because of the storm. The Raptors tried to take off again Tuesday and instead spent five hours aboard their chartered airplane before that trip was wiped out, too.
Team spokesman Jim LaBumbard said players passed the time on the plane watching movies, listening to their headsets and eating. The Raptors planned to try again Wednesday, but as for getting to Atlanta in time, “it’s too early to tell,” LaBumbard said.
Police blocked off streets around Wrigley Field after a panel above the press box fell to the ground outside the Cubs’ nearly 97-year-old ballpark.
Emergency Management spokesman Roderick Drew said high winds were preventing maintenance crews from making repairs.
The Penn State men’s basketball team made it to Champaign, Ill., for its game Tuesday night against Illinois despite heavy snow, but lost 68-51 with less than 3,500 fans in attendance.
Penn State spokesman Brian Siegrist said the team arrived around 1 p.m. by bus from Evansville, Ind. The team’s charter flight was diverted there Monday night because of weather conditions in central Illinois.
In Peoria, Ill., Bradley beat Creighton 69-61 after the start time was moved up four hours.
The men’s Big 12 basketball game in Norman, Okla., on Tuesday night was called off and rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon, with free admission.
The Air Force women’s basketball team abandoned the skies Tuesday, deciding to bus rather than fly to New Mexico for Wednesday night’s game.
The storm also had an effect in the East, where Aqueduct canceled Wednesday’s racing card. The forecast for the New York area called for a mix of rain, sleet and ice.
Fans trying to get to the Super Bowl to root for the Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers might have to wait a bit.
The airport in Dallas — the destination for thousands trying to get to Sunday’s game — was among those shut down. Walkways outside Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, were like sheets of ice.
The National Weather Service advised Wisconsin travelers bound for Texas to wait until Wednesday evening, with up to 20 inches of snow forecast for the Milwaukee area.
The Packers, no stranger to winter chill, might even practice indoors this week if the weather doesn’t improve.
“It’s a little too cold for me,” linebacker Clay Matthews said. “Texas is supposed to be hot and humid. I was looking forward to that. I am a California guy.”
Contributing to this report were AP writers Jim Salter in St. Louis and Schuyler Dixon in Dallas, and AP Sports Writers Eric Olson in Omaha, Neb., Michael Marot in Indianapolis, R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis and Colin Fly in Milwaukee.