OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD . . .

Oilers fans

I’m
completely on board with the necessary checks and balances that come with a
project like Rogers Place, but after rattling around the old barn since 1989, I
was happy to give cynicism a rest this week when it was announced the
$480-million guaranteed maximum price had been met and that shovels will go in
the ground in March.

With
mayor Don Iveson and Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz addressing the assembled
crowd at city hall, delivering positive spin about a project that will
transform downtown, there wasn’t a lot of meat to the matter or details
delivered. That’s been done to get the downtown project to this point after
years of debate and it will continue as the project moves along. As it should.

I am,
and always have been, of the mind a downtown arena district is a good and
overdue idea for Edmonton. I’m of that mind today. There are those who have always
felt differently, and do today. I’m OK with that, just as I was OK with the shiny,
good news delivered this week devoid of more debate or much real detail or
rehash of what’s been agreed to.

ABOUT
THE NEW JOINT . . .

Banners

I
listened with interest as Jason Gregor had team president Patrick LaForge on
today to talk about the new joint, and a couple of things he said grabbed my
attention.

LaForge
talked about having an area of the arena that will host a series of different
displays, including the possibility of running collections of Oiler memorabilia
from different collectors – from hardcore guys like the fellow from Fort
McMurray with what’s billed as the greatest Wayne Gretzky collection on the
planet, to more modest offerings from avid fans — for a month or two at a
time.

That’s
sounds like a pretty good start on making the new rink more fan friendly than
Rexall Place, which, truth be told, isn’t that fan friendly at all, save for
decent sightlines from the seats, even by today’s NHL standards.

I’d
like to think that Oilersnation could come up with truckload of stuff worthy of
display — beyond the bags of Jordan Eberle’s hair and underwear lint Wanye has
gathering the last several years. I’d be interested to hear from any of our
readers who have a collection of note.

THIS
AND THAT . . .

. . .
Based on what LaForge told Gregor, it sounds like the Oilers having to wade
through fans collected outside the dressing room in the lower lounge on the way
to the ice will be a thing of the past in the new place. The new configuration
won’t include that gauntlet.

. . .
Most of the seats in the rink will be 19 inches wide, an inch wider than the
seats in Rexall Place. There will also be 1,000 seats scattered throughout the
place that are 21 inches wide for those requiring more room. Recliners in the
press box will be increased to 32 inches wide . . . I keed.

. . .
A lot of the better arenas around the NHL have incorporated statues around the
rink to honor the greats who have played there. Two of the more noteworthy are
the United Center in Chicago and Bell Centre in Montreal. Edmonton, of course,
has long had the Gretzky statue. Will it make the move to the new place or will
be see something new? What would you like to see?

WHILE
I’M AT IT . . .

I’m
taking my family to Maui for the rest of the Olympic break. Between now and the
time I get back, I expect Canada to shake itself from the coma induced by
today’s 3-1 yawner over Norway to win the gold medal.

I
also expect a large number of Oilersnation stickers to find themselves slapped
in conspicuous places around the island, just so the locals get a feel for the
reach of Oil Country (photos to follow, of course).

Listen
to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor
Show on TEAM 1260.

  • **

    In my current seats at Rexall, I can not see either of the corners closet to my seat – even when the people in front of me sit back in their seats. I am all for stadium seating that gives the ticket holder a view of the whole ice surface. I will not miss the crummy sight lines.

    I will not miss the congestion after the game and difficulty in getting out of the parking areas.

    I will not miss the entertainment district known as The Forum Inn.

    I will not miss the food choices that Rexall offers – Will that be a hot dog, or a Great White North Pizza ?

    I will not miss the people who sit behind me and talk talk talk through the entire game because they will likely be back.

    I will not miss the lacklustre presentation of music and the five or six tee shirts that they throw up to the stands each game.

    I will miss the price I pay – I am sure that the next place will be much more expensive. I am OK with that as I will not miss Northlands one bit.

    • ubermiguel

      I agree on all accounts except sight-lines. The ACC has some terrible obstructed-view seats because of the luxury boxes for their Tier 1a fans (Bay Street suit types). I worry the new design will be the same. I’ve been in nearly many sections of Rexall over the last 25 years and have been pleased with every angle.

    • Rdubb

      In all honesty, season tickets SHOULDN’T go up in price because we already have the 4th highest ticket average in the NHL, & in my opinion, that is totally FREAKING CRAZY!!! Why, because of how the Oilers have finished this past 8+yrs. If Katz was a real Oiler fan like he says he is, our ticket prices would be lower, much lower than they are now and wouldn’t go up too terribly was the new barn is done, that is until Edmonton starts fighting for division titles year in and year out, and always put on a good show while doing so. Not those lack luster efforts that caused a good old boy from Spruce Grove to throw his $150 jersey onto the ice in disgust of, what was it, the 2nd or 3rd straight shut out at home in a row?
      Remember the flames of the 80’s when they’d only loose 3-10 games a year at home? That is when, & only then, when Katz should be allowed to get away with charging the 4th highest amount for tickets.
      We should be in the bottom 1/2 of the league for prices, across the board, from tickets to beer, to food, to parking, to memorabilia & such.
      That’s how I feel any way’s
      Peck

    • Where are these seats that you can’t see the corners? I’ve been in practically every section in the building and have never had any issues with obstructed views in Rexall and have never heard anyone complain of it either.

      • **

        Sec 202 row 36 – Sure you can see the corners if the people in the row in front would not lean forward in their seats but they always do. The deal with stadium seating is that the gradient is much steeper so that you are looking over the person in front of you. Maybe I just need to be taller.

        I have been in Montreal and Ottawa and you can see the entire ice surface including the corners. Now for the cheap seats you will be seating further away from the ice in the new stadium which is the one draw back.

        I am sure there are some seats with great sight lines in Rexall but Stadium seating will definitely help.

        My current seats are just not worth the price.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      Oh man. If you ever make it to Winnipeg to catch a game, you have to see how we do arena food. Nothing like a big ol’ plate of perogies and fried onions with some sliced up kubasa.

      If they can manage something like that, you Edmontonians will be lucky indeed.

      • Thumby

        Food service and how it’s delivered at Rexall Place puts it squarely at the bottom of the NHL, save for the old rink on Long Island.

        This is one area where, based on what LaForge is saying, there’s going to be a huge improvement in the new place.

        • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

          That’s really good to hear. I work in downtown Winnipeg in an office building that’s attached to MTS Centre. 90% of the time when I catch a game I’m going there straight from work, so it’s nice to have some options for dinner beyond a hot dog or a slice of pizza.

          It’s a pretty significant part of my experience as a fan, anyway.

      • Romanus

        Man could you imagine a douchey Vancouver fan breathing heavily on you after wolfing down some Onions and Kubasa with Heroin Beer? Thats a nasty ass combination!

  • toprightcorner

    The only thing I really want to see in the new arena is more wins, if they can do that, wooden benches for seats will still sell out!

    Oh yeah, and a statue of McSorely kicking the crap out of Tim Hunter would be nice!

  • james_dean

    Mac brings back thorenson this summer.

    and ol toby peterson. Not

    im excited for new rink.

    Almost as much as I was when city announced art gallery, terwillegar rec center, etc

    Ive drove down 101 st beside casino everyday for 3 weeks going to visit a loved one at royal alex and

    There is a minimum of one ambluance outside of that soup kitchen beside it.

    Maybe I will be able to catch a midnight bus at the downtown greyhound station in 2016 without having to stress.

  • toprightcorner

    Regarding sightlines, I have often thought the craziest idea in sightlines, would be to have people suspended superman style in harnesses that allowed them to rotate to follow the action never a bad sightline. That would be freaky awesome.

    Partially opaque boards would be neat as well. So people behind could see through, but you could necessarily see the people sat behind them.

    • toprightcorner

      I am quite sure the technology exists so the fans could see the players through the boards and yet the boards would seem opaque from the ice surface.

      I think it’s not a bad idea.

  • My 1974 wha jersey would be nice to show off at the new arena. I have a Oilers collection going back to 1972.However most is signed to me. Does anybody remember the Oiler mobiles back in the glory days?I had a bunch of players sign the front page of the sun which featured the Oilermobile including Gretz. Anybody can buy a collection if you have the loot .However I would have to put mine up against any paid collectors. I have some very unique things. Wow over 40 years of watching the oil time flys. Now about the playoffs.

  • toprightcorner

    THE NEW ARENA WILL COME WITH A STATUE OF THE THREE WISE MEN WHO HELPED BUILD IT : BETTMAN, KATZ AND LOWE . PAID FOR BY YOUR TAX DOLLARS . ALL THOSE IN FAVOR ?

  • Thumby

    I hope that there is at least a few more inches of leg room between your seat and the seat in front of you. Rexall has long been horrible to watch games in because of the inadequate leg room and just sheer lack of room in the seats. I vote in favor of the OilersNation WIAM’s girls as statues outside Rogers Arena. Eakins has already come in and demanded that any remnants of glory days past have no place in the minds of the players. Why not have a statue of Scarlett Johansson kissing Shania Twain?

    • **

      Bingo! For me more legroom in front would a huge bonus. Makes it more comfortable while sitting, and would give more room for ppl to walk by who don’t have aisle seats.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    The Journal published several drawings of the new rinks interior / exterior
    The interior seating angles looked so much like American Basketball arena
    with a very soft seat angle….as in row 15 would be 50 feet from the ice !
    Hockey rinks are best with a very steep angle….like the Montreal Bell Center….row 15 would be more like 30 feet from the ice….damn near straight up with all the great views that come with that .

    Anyone have access to good building info ??

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Would love to see a taste of Edmonton type food experience there like they have down town every year.Where all the resturants from town sell samples of their food.

  • 2004Z06

    I think it is a shame that they are getting rid of the gauntlet. One of the features that the kids love as they get to see their heroes walk past. Too bad some DB drunks have ruined it for us all. They should simply move it to an area that isn’t stuck in the middle of a bar.

  • SourGrapes

    As a ticket holder in the Colonnade (Row 32), I’m sure by the time they add a row of luxury boxes plus the layer of lounges/restaurants (“The Loge”) that were in the plans, my seats will be a lot higher and further away from the ice. I’d be shocked if they weren’t more expensive too.

    I don’t think the Oilers have ever really cared much about us upper deck (Tier 2?) fans. When the Heritage Classic came along they felt that the Commonwealth Stadium equivalent of my seats were in the top corner of the upper deck. Thanks a lot!

    Interesting that in the recent Season ticket holder survey, the Oilers were asking about the impact the new arena has on ticket holders. I guess they’re hoping that a pretty new arena will keep us around a little longer. My reply was “not at all” because I won’t be a ticket holder after this season. Enough is enough and I’ll spend my money elsewhere.

  • I’ve seen some pics of the open concept luxury boxes and interior sightlines at the new arena. If you’re a season seat holder or luxury box lessee, you’d be an idiot to give up those spots. This is going to be a freaking awesome facility compared to the sh!tshow we have to watch a game at now.

  • Rdubb

    Rexall to me IS the Oilers -I have never been to another arena, although I live in BC. To watch the Oilers anywhere but home ice to me is sacrilege. So, am I happy about the new arena – absolutely, and what will I miss about Rexall? Well, NOT the line up for the toilets at intermission – I usually go before or after the break and guess what – Ta da – the siren goes, we score and I’m sitting there going YAY with my underwear around my ankles. I sure hope there are enough washrooms so we can ALL go at intermission. Another thing – could we have a one way system to get out of the new arena after a game, I get vertigo weaving in and out of fans going in both directions. Could we ban cell phones? seeing someone constantly text when the game is on really bugs me – either watch the game or go home and text – there is absolutely no need to be on the phone while at a game. If you are texting your buddy, tell him to go on the Oilers’ website for updates. And DON’T bring your kids who decide that Bud Lightyear or Barbie are more fun than the Oilers – it does NOT make a game enjoyable when these darlings are in front of you playing with their toys. Finally, have a statue of #94 outside, as well as the banner holders – Smytty may not be a cup winner, but he sure as hell is MR. OILER. Love my team!!!!

  • Rob...

    Enjoy Maui, it is an awesome, laid back, and beautiful place to unwind. There’s even an inline hockey association in Kihei. Hard not to love a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific that has hardcore hockey fans.

  • brackenbury

    I love that we are getting a downtown arena. My question is, where are 3-5000 vehicles going to park? Furthermore, the
    Roads around this chunk of real estate are already chaotic
    On a typical weekday rush hour. I see a lot of gridlock on
    Event nights. Does anybody know what solutions are planned
    For an obvious problem? Lrt expansion..? Idk. A lot more
    People than now are going to have to use some form of public transportation. Their is not going to be a lot of parrking.Not nearly as many stalls as the northlands area
    Provides now. And arena capacity is going up what…3000?
    Tell me their’s a plan. I live downtown , so ill b fortunate to
    Walk on game nights. The sheer volume of vehicles on game nights HAS to b a concern no?