This past weekend, my family and I went to the Edmonton Oiler’s last preseason game, played in the brand new Rogers Place. In the third period, with just 2:34 left on the clock, Vancouver’s Markus Granlund broke the tie, bringing the score to 3-2 for the Canucks. It was a great game, despite the fact that I witnessed the Oilers’ first defeat in their new place.
All of the hype and energy circling around the new arena over the past few months really brought up my expectations. I was excited to finally get a look inside the glorified structure. We entered through the Ford Hall South entrance. With some long lines that ended up moving relatively quickly, we then found ourselves inside the futuristic building. At first glance, it’s an obvious upgrade from what Edmontonians are used to with Rexall Place.
We did experience some kinks, though, including 20-minute lineups for beer and long lineups for the bathroom. We could also hear some kind of hissing or static noise from where we were sitting in the fourth row that appeared to be coming from above. Maybe poor acoustics or sound engineering? The escalator that takes you to the upper concourse is quite frightening as well, with a sloped length of 140 feet. It is so high that you may think you’ve taken a puck to the face and are on your way up to heaven. It seems to never end and once you get to the top, don’t look down!
There has been a lot of talk about its location and the fact that the City may simply be suppressing our homeless issues by placing a giant shiny building in the middle of our inner city problems. But I do believe that this building will make Edmonton’s downtown a much more attractive destination for all of us living in the suburbs. All of the new traffic will surely keep the restaurants and bars in the area in business. And with new residences scheduled to open in the coming years, this area will be thriving in no time.
Rogers Place is a nice building, but I wasn’t really dazzled. I wish that I could say I was, but I wasn’t … at least not yet.
– Brendan Chalifour, Entertainment Editor
Image by Brendan Chalifour