Game 4 of the American Hockey League Western Conference finals between the Oklahoma City Barons and Grand Rapids Griffins was postponed Friday night primarily due to a major water leak in the ceiling on the east side of the Cox Convention Center.
Game 4 has been rescheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Cox Center. Game 5 has been pushed back to Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Cox Center. The Barons lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.
“This is my first rainout in professional hockey,” quipped Barons coach Todd Nelson.
The east side of the arena, the Barons locker room, east concourse and parts of the east sections flooded.
“At this point we have a facility that is practically flooded,” said Prodigal CEO Bob Funk Jr., who runs the Barons for the Edmonton Oilers. “We have to not only take the players’ safety into consideration but the overall status of the building.
“This building is not in shape to go play a game. We had to make a call tonight, and we decided it was in the best interest of the players, spectators and workers’ safety that we postpone the game and play it on Sunday.”
The game originally was slated to start Friday night at 7. With a severe tornado threat in the downtown area, team officials moved fans to the parking lot underneath the Cox Center for 45 minutes.
Fans were allowed to re-enter the arena at 7:45. But another problem, a major water leak from heavy thunderstorms, further delayed the game, which eventually was postponed.
At 9 p.m., when players were allowed to return home, arena workers were still trying to remove standing water from the Barons locker room. At one point during the delay, water was pouring through the radio booth, spewing down the upper deck steps toward the lower bowl on the east side of the arena.
“Obviously we can’t do anything about it,” Nelson said. “They rescheduled the game for Sunday at 4 and it will be business as usual. It was important to get our guys home and get their rest. We’ll wake up (Saturday) morning like nothing happened and get back at it.”