Xtreme Xcel

Matt Blashaw, host of DIY Network’s “Project Xtreme,” recently got to see what it’s like to turn a concert stage into a hockey rink with the help of Coldplay, Live Nation and the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

“Basically, I walk a mile of the most extreme jobs in America,” Blashaw told Pollstar. “Mostly it’s construction jobs, like building skyscrapers or hanging out of a helicopter to put an air conditioning unit at the top of a downtown Chicago building. So this was an opportunity to do something more with staging.”

The show follows Blashaw Nov. 14 as he helps with load-in, building the stage, cleanup and constructing the hockey rink for a Minnesota Wild game. Along the way, he gets instructions from production manager Craig “Fin” Finley, who spent years working with the Barenaked Ladies.

“As Craig says in the episode, ‘The start time on the tickets says 7:30 and we have to be ready to go by then,’” Xcel spokeswoman Kathy O’Connor told Pollstar. “And we have a very high ceiling here so some of the rigging can take a little longer than in other buildings.”

O’Connor said DIY Network contacted the venue because it had hosted the Republican National Convention. Blashaw is a huge fan of Coldplay and a venue conversion seemed like a good feature for the show.

“At the outset I said, ‘Well, we’ll ask but, wow, I’d be surprised if we got this through,’” O’Connor said. “But we talked to folks at Live Nation and they bounced it off Craig Finley and he was open to the idea and thought it was pretty cool.”

Blashaw said his day lasted about 36 hours but he did get to do a few cool things along the way, like watching the concert with his wife, driving the Zamboni and getting an ice hockey lesson.

“I came from a background of stagehand work at Disney for a while. I did theatre. I was in the local IATSE there,” Blashaw said. “I used to do all that work at Disney, holding on for dear life while trying to pull up a couple hundred pounds worth of chain. It was that extreme but this time we had a time crunch, so it made it even more scary.”

The episode is expected to air at 9 p.m. and will be available online at DIYnetwork.com.

Check out a preview of the episode HERE.