Stade olympique Olympic Stadium

With more leeway, Impact confident Olympic Stadium will be ready for the home opener

MONTREAL –The Olympic Stadium roof can still get games postponed, but there’s more leeway this year.

A new weather protocol has been issued at the Olympic Park, allowing for a game to be played at the Big O despite a snowfall forecast of 3 cm (roughly 1”) “during the game itself and specifically on the stadium,” Impact Executive Vice-President Richard Legendre told reporters at Impact training on Wednesday.

This is a significant improvement from the former protocol, under which games could be postponed with the slightest snowfall forecast. As was the case last year, a call must be made 24 hours before kick off.

As of this Thursday morning, 2 to 3 inches of snow are forecast for the Montreal area on Saturday. But Legendre sounded confident that this Saturday’s 4 pm ET game between Montreal and the Seattle Sounders would go ahead.

“The weather changes a lot from day to day, and you must understand that we’re talking here about general forecasts for an entire area,” Legendre said. “So when we talk about 3 centimeters at the moment of the event specifically on the Stadium, then the Olympic Park [management] can assess all of this much better.”

Michel Labrecque, the Olympic Park President, explained that advanced measuring instruments on the stadium roof cables, coupled with a “quite costly” heating system, made for precise readings of a hopefully limited quantity of snow, which led to the snow protocol being altered. But the decision made on the eve of the game still relies mostly on weather analyses and roof conditions.

“The decision is not up to me as Olympic Park President,” Labrecque told reporters. “It’s up to our Vice-President and Chief Engineer as well as his team.”

Should the game be postponed, kickoff would be delayed to Sunday at 4 pm ET, Legendre confirmed.

Olivier Tremblay covers the Impact on MLSsoccer.com

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