The #FarewellRexallPlace Wrap Up

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What started off with an afternoon in Churchill Square ended in a Canucks ass kicking and a farewell to an old barn that holds a lot of memories, and a lot of hockey history.

I really do hope that the night came off as good on TV as it did when you were there, because Rexall Place was electric last night. I was lucky enough to be in the building, and that was the loudest that I’ve heard the crowd in a while. And I’m not talking about the “holy hell what did McDavid just do” kind of loud, I’m talking about the roar that no face-holes on the planet can make quite like Edmonton Oilers fans. I’m talking about the type of Rexall roar that can send shivers up your spine. It had been a while.

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THE GAME

Shout out friend of the Nation Brian for putting the work in tonight. -bm #FarewellRexallPlace #oilers

A photo posted by OilersNation (@officialoilersnation) on

Did anybody else get worried when about 10 minutes had gone by before the Oilers had even registered a shot on goal? Rexall got reaaaal quiet for a few minutes. I was looking around and some people were already shaking their heads. I had a few Canucks fans sitting in front of me that were literally praying that the Oilers would blow it. I could hear them joking about how funny it would be when the Canucks “pump(ed) em’ for six” in the last ever game at the pillbox. They didn’t say a word for the rest of the game.

At the end of the day, it’s always a good game if the Canucks lose but this one was different. After the first 10 minutes were out of the way, and Yakupov put the Oilers up by a goal, the fans at Rexall started to liven up. As pucks continued to go in, the crowd started getting louder and louder. It was fun to look around and see people on the edge of their seats rather than spending most of the night on Twitter. By the time Connor McDavid scored to put the Oilers up by three goals Rexall Place was on fire, and the atmosphere was electric and only seemed to get louder. By the time the Oilers hit six goals the place was ready to blow up. 

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MY HIGHLIGHTS

One last time. #FarewellRexallPlace

A video posted by baggedmilk (@himynameisbaggedmilk) on

  • I had a terrible allergy attack when a video of Paul Laurieau showed up on the screen to have him sing the anthem one last time. My eyes were welling up… because of the allergies. I guess everyone else must have had the same allergies. They should really get an air filter in there. 
  • Anytime the Canucks lose it’s a good day. 
  • GRETZKY TUCKED HIS JERSEY IN!
  • Speaking of Gretzkys, Walter tore the roof of the place. At each home game the Oilers had been giving away a legend’s jersey to a season ticket holder and last night I assumed it would be Wayne. When Walter walked out the place absolutely erupted. 
  • Connor McDavid is so special to watch and to see him put up three points almost seems like a bonus. I’m not surprised that he put on a show considering the magnitude of the game. He’s a big time player, and it was fitting for Connor to close down the old barn. 
  • Like McDavid, Taylor Hall stepped his game up for the last home game at Rexall. After the game Hall admitted that it will be nice to go to work at the new arena and try to put all the negativity of the past ten years behind them. 
  • How can you not love Pat Maroon? The guy comes in, scores two goals, and he looked like he was soaking in the atmosphere. I love this guy. 
  • I loved seeing Nail Yakupov pick up the puck after he scored the first goal of the night. That may well have been the last goal he scores as an Oiler and I’m happy that it will be memorable for him. Bonus points go out to how excited Yakupov looked as he walked out for the closing ceremony. I’ll miss him. 
  • The ovation for Ryan Smyth was one of the loudest of the night, and it’s no secret how much this city loves that man. Almost surprisingly, Smytty held it together despite being unable to speak for nearly a minute before the crowd quieted down. 
  • I hope the Oilers put up the video montages they were playing on the screen during commercials breaks. There were a lot of cool moments from over the years and they did a good job putting montages together. 
  • In a way I was jealous that I didn’t get to hear Bob Cole call the game. When he was giving his speech, on the ice, all I could think about was that that was the voice I grew up on. 
  • Speaking of voices I grew up on, I will never get tired of hearing Rod Phillips goal calls and I was happy the Oilers gave him a shout out because he certainly deserves is. 
  • I was great to see so many different generations of Oilers all in one place. They brought back guys from the WHA days all the way to the current and they were all mixed together for the closing ceremony. It was especially cool to look down and seeing the now Oilers talking to the legends that came back into town. There are so many guys that I was excited to see again and I could bang out a list of 100 guys, but you guys know who was there. Let me know in the comments about who you were most excited to see again.
  • There was no better way to close down the ceremony than by having Joey Moss bring down the #FarewellRexallBanner. Joey Moss is the greatest Oiler of all time, and I will arm wrestle anyone that disagrees with me. 

NATION REACTION

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GOODBYE, OLD GIRL

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As much as I am excited to watch games in the new arena I have to say that I was sad leaving the old rink, last night. I remember the first game my dad took me to. He had won tickets at work and told me that we were going out for dinner. I had no idea that dinner meant we were going to Rexall Place for hot dogs. I don’t remember the score of the game, but I remember that the Oilers were playing Detroit and the place was only half full. After the game, my dad took me down into the basement to stand in front of the Oilers dressing room, and wait for autographs.

I remember Bill Ranford signing my game program and telling me to work hard if I ever wanted to play in the NHL. I remember Chris Joseph signing my hat after pretending he was going to take it to me. I remember when the Oilers and Eskimos used to put on the Carnival of Champions and I was able to shoot foam pucks on Fred Braithwaite, and get a tour of the press box from Mariusz Czerkawski. He gave me and my friend, Matt, popcorn and a fountain pop. We were the last tour of the day and he just happened to be up there. I remember the way the building shook during the 06 Cup run, and how red my hand was after high-fiving what seemed like 1000s of strangers. 

I remember the countless concerts, and the hundreds of dollars I spent on concert tshirts and beer. My first ever concert at Rexall was Our Lady Peace when I was about eight years old. My dad let me go with a friend and I remember feeling like the big man on campus that my old man let me roll with a buddy despite being so young. I remember going to see Korn when I was 14, and walking around the concourse with my friend Curt and trying to see if we could find someone that would buy us beer. I remember paying a fortune to sit on the other side of the arena to watch Paul McCartney’s last show. I saw Motley Crue a bunch of times, Metallica, blink-182, Black Sabbath, Muse, the Killers, Ozzy, Kiss, the list goes on and on. 

To me, Rexall Place was a place that I made a lot of memories with my friends and family, and I will miss going there on a regular basis. I was lucky enough to go to a lot of hockey games/comedy shows/rodeos/monster trucks/concerts and it’s bittersweet that we’ll all be moving on to greener pastures. Regardless of how bad the Oilers have been over the past 10 years it never stopped us from having a good time at the place they used to call home. Although there are new memories to make, and stories to write, I’ll never forget the old barn and all the memories that I have from the 100s of nights/afternoons that I’ve spent there. 

Goodnight, old girl. We’ll never forget you. 


  • Snowdropper

    Dammit. There’s dust in the air here again *sniff*

    Was an amazing spectacle to see on TV. Can only imagine what it would’ve been like to be there. I was dabbing my eyes from the moment Paul started singing to when they all raised their sticks in salute to the fans.

    Classy from start to finish.

  • oilderrick7

    Great great night, but can we put a moratorium on the incessant Nuuuuuuuuuge/Maroooooooon/Mooooooooose/etc chants? Shouldn’t we only have at most just one on the current roster? Or am I taking crazy pills?

  • BlazingSaitls

    I liked that Lowe received a modest applause and no jeering. It was a night for good memories and the OEG group wisely kept the past decade where it belongs, in the shadows.

    I wish MacT would have attended. I don’t care what anyone says, if he wanted to be there he’d have been there. I think he would have got a modest applause like Lowe and it could have helped heal the fractured relationship between himself and fans. Oh well.

    I wasn’t very sentimental about the closing of Rexall even though I do have fond memories of going to games there. I will admit someone started cutting onions when Joey was walking off with the banner.

    All in all it was a very long but very good night.

  • Dirtski

    I SEEN SHMYTTY AT THE AIRPORT BEFORE THE GAME!

    I work there and was doing my job speaking with a customer. But I just stopped and shouted out “RYAN!”, ignoring the customer while my eyes lit up like a school-girl seeing a backstreet boy. He turned and waved quickly. It was soo damn awesome.

  • Ty Guy

    i really wish that whipping was the flames game. I drove from Calgary with last minute tickets for it to watch the egg, expecting the canuck game. now the 5-0 boo-fest is my last memory there.

    whatever…..my best memories are the nights i can’t remember anyway.

  • The Rookie

    I must have yelled at my wife 6 or 7 times, ” how the hell is Joey not on the ice?? WTF BS is this???” And then…. The perfect end. And I think my wife started peeling onions or something. Or maybe BM gave me his allergies. Are allergies an STD? Anyway…. Well done Oilers, Rexall, Northlands. It’s been great. My favourite memory will be spending the night in the barn as part of the Oilkings Scout sleepover. That’s something my kids will get to talk about when they are older, and not many other people have done it. It will make for great stories to their kids….

  • The Goalie 1976

    I love how this fan base embraces Smyth. He built his career out of hard work, bravery, and effort. He didn’t actually have that much talent, but he squeaked out every ounce of it.

    I’m happy that the current oilers got to see how much this city loves a guy that plays that way. If the skilled guys can see that even when the pucks aren’t going in, if you bring it every game and don’t ever mail it in…..this fan base will never turn on you and they will hold you with permanent respect.

    Smyth got a significantly louder cheer than many players with more skill and hall of fame honors.

  • blark

    Just want to throw out there, looking at the Sportsnet tweet, it should properly read “the last THREE Oilers to step foot on Rexall ice.” Smytty is right there beside Connor.

  • My first game was a home opener vs Buffalo and Domenik Hasek was starting to become one of the best goalies of all time. Rem “The Gem” Murray potted his 1st 2 goals of his career in that game and instantly became my favourite Oiler of all time! God Bless that man!!

  • GK1980

    Love rexall place and I too have a ton of fond memories, including a rammstein concert. Awesome pyro!

    Anyways, I’ll be glad to move to a new arena. New place, hopefully a new vibe which turns into wins next year. All I care about is still watching oilers hockey in April, 2017.

  • MorningOwl

    I once saw Ken King at the Phoenix Gila River Arena, just walking nonchalantly through the concourse looking at the people, and I saw Daryl Sutter standing out of the way, in the shadows, watching people at the Lethbridge arena. I am frickin amazing. sorry, don’t have any rexal stories to share.

  • ThinkingOutLoud

    I remember as a kid (about 11 or so) my parents had split a pair of seasons tickets with another family. One game mom wanted to come as well, so dad bought 3rd a ticket from a scalper out front, and I was amazed when he gave it to me so I could sit by myself – felt like a grown up!

    So I made my way to the other side of the bowl, walked down the steps to my row and saw someone already sitting there. I walked up to him and told him I thought he was in my spot. He pulled out a badge and told me the ticket was stolen and started grilling me as to how I got it… I lead him back to dad, and we all went outside looking for the scalper who was long-gone. I wasn’t allowed to sit in that seat (for obvious reasons) but it wasn’t a sell-out, so the Northlands staff-lady (to me it will ALWAYS be Northlands Coliseum!) was nice enough to let me sit in one of the other empty seats.

    Not much of a hockey or concert memory I guess – but a memory none-the-less. I’ll miss that place… The sounds, the smells… The awe I was in a kid during my first national anthem with everyone standing and as I looked around the old bowl seeing a kaliedescope of colors from; the various tops people wore – it looked like a post-impressionist painting…

    Damn allergies…

  • In 2 years the Canucks were witness to some Oiler loving from its fanbase. Can’t forget the class they showed during Smytty’s last game and their patience here.

    So many of the Oilers that showed up didn’t win anything, heck some never had a chance to play in the playoffs with Edmonton, but these guys put their heart and soul out there for the team. Hordichuk had a limited role in a limited time, and was on the tail end of his career, but he did fight tooth and nail for a spot. I really respected that.

    While Joseph and Moog weren’t able to make it, I was just as glad to see Markkanen and Gage. I cheered for these guys just as much as Joseph.

    Celebrating the formation of the team was a history lesson for me and I was glad that many were able to make it to the last game at Rexall.

    Western Canada doesn’t get enough credit for their hockey passion. This goes for Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina/Saskatoon and all the small towns in between. I felt like this sort of demonstrated that. Whether the Oilers won or lost, whether they won the Cup or missed the playoffs for a consecutive season, we loved anyone who wore the Oilers jersey.

    It’s hard to argue that the one city that will go the craziest with a Cup win will be Edmonton.