Monday Musings: The Library

The Edmonton Oilers are tied for first place in the Pacific Division. Connor McDavid leads the NHL in scoring with 34 points in 27 games, and he has a five-point lead on Nikita Kucherov.

There are many reasons for Oilers fans to be excited, especially after years of futility. However, Rogers Place might be the quietest rink in the NHL. Some have looked to give it a nickname and through 13 home games the most accurate one might be ‘The Library’.

Why is it so quiet?

This is not a new phenomenon at Oilers games. Edmonton has always been a quieter barn in the regular season, but during the playoffs it becomes a madhouse.

Of course, the atmosphere will be better in the playoffs, but why such a drastic change between October and March compared to April, May and June?

I’ve heard many theories over the years, but having been to many rinks around the league I believe there are a combination of factors, and a few small tweaks could make it a much livelier arena on game nights.

THEORIES

Homer Thinking

  • The tickets are expensive so “real” fans can’t go.

    I don’t agree. Yes, they are expensive, but Edmonton still has a very high percentage of season ticket holders who are not corporations. Many average Joes/Jills have tickets and go to games.

  • The lower bowl is all corporate and they don’t cheer.

    I’ve always wondered why people think if you wear a suit it means you are too good to cheer. I don’t believe your job or salary determines you ability or willingness to cheer. Last night the wave was started in the lower bowl in the section right behind the Oilers bench. It took three of four tries to get going, but they kept at it, because there was nothing to miss on the ice. The game was horrifically boring.

  • The Oilers have been terrible and there hasn’t been much to cheer about.

    It is true they have been brutal. The Decade of Darkness almost broke the spirit of even the most diehard fan. But the Oilers aren’t in the basement this year, plus they have an exciting team. They are seventh in goals scored, 14th in goals against and they have McDavid. He’s a human highlight reel every night.

    After so many years of losing you’d think the first sign of winning would have people exploding, because they haven’t had much to cheer for in ten years.

I’m not sure any of those theories are the reason the rink has been woefully quiet this year. Here are the issues I see and some small recommendations to fix the problem.

CHANGES NEEDED


Edmonton has been historically a reserved crowd in the regular season. This goes back to the 1980s when the Oilers were winning regularly. Once the playoffs arrived the decibel level increased dramatically, but many nights in the regular season it was very quiet.

Edmonton is a blue collar city. People work hard and rarely toot their own horn. We are a quiet, confident bunch and I wonder if the polite, reserved nature of people in their everyday life impacts how they are as fans. I don’t have a psychology degree, but it seems like many fans don’t feel the need to get excited until the postseason.

The other main issue is how the the Oilers’ in-house entertainment doesn’t help much. Their majority of in-game experience consists of panning to people in the crowd at every break. I’m sorry, but an endless run of fans smiling and waving while on the big screen doesn’t do much other than have them smiling and waving.

While the music has improved, it still doesn’t have a vast array of tunes that get the blood flowing.

It also doesn’t help that certain ushers scowl at any fan who stands up and cheers or starts a chant. God forbid they add some emotion in the building. It’s almost as though the Oilers don’t want any organic chants. They want fans to sit quietly, smile when the camera pans to them during breaks and, whatever you do, don’t be too loud, because you supposedly could distract someone beside you from watching the game.

There has to be a middle ground where fans can cheer without being chastised for it, because as it stands Edmonton is one of the quietest rinks in the NHL. Every visiting media person I speak with notices it.

SOME IDEAS

Questions

  • Oilers get a PP and the in-game production crew does nothing. Have better production. One of best things I’ve seen was in Colorado for an NLL game. When the opposing team got a penalty the announcer would say, “Number five, two minutes for roughing,” and the crowd would stand and yell, “Get in the box!” and point to the penalty box. It adds excitement for the upcoming power play. The place was electric and it was a very simple thing, but every time the opposition got a penalty the crowd stood up and the anticipation for the ensuing powerplay was better than other rinks I called games in.
  • There are other things the Oilers can do. They have the best big screen in the NHL — use it for more than showing fans sitting down and staring at camera hoping to get on the big screen. It is overdone and to be honest adds zero intensity.

  • Last night the game went to OT and they played a lame montage of fans in their seats, some taking selfies of themselves and not even looking at the camera. This does not generate excitement. Play some highlights, like Draisaitl’s OT winner from the Saturday night. It isn’t that hard — just put in some effort rather than resort to crowd shots. Show some previous OT winning goals. Get fans excited about the OT.
  • Or come up with some chants other than “Let’s Go Oilers”. That can be fine at times, but simple ones like “Con-ner, Con-ner!” before a PP would work. Anything to add some noise and energy. Last season Patrick Maroon was gushing last when during the final game at Rexall fans chanted “Maroooooooonn”. He was overwhelmed by it post game. He loved it and I was floored when the Oilers didn’t have a quick little video reminding fans about the chant on opening night when he scored the first goal ever at Rogers. It was a perfect opportunity, completely missed.
  • Pick a few of the Oilers players or some of the musicians who play at Rogers place and have them in a pre-packaged video starting a chant or “Let’s get loud!”. Package it so it grabs people’s attention, because just showing pan shots of the crowd every stoppage in play adds zero excitement in the building.
  • Fans get creative. Start a chant or something. Jets fans in Winnipeg are great. Things like chanting “Crosby’s better” when they play Ovechkin are simple and add some energy.
  • I believe it has to be a collaboration between the in-house scoreboard and fans who need to be willing to cheer. Don’t be a fun sponge and scowl at someone who is standing and cheering. It’s sports. It is supposed to be a release from every day life, and right now the atmosphere at Rogers Place is severely lacking. They should at the very least show more replays of goals and penalties, rather than just pan the crowd at every stoppage.

I don’t want this to turn into a blame game, but there are factors that can be improved. Many other rinks are louder and have a much more enjoyable in-game experience. I like the Oilers’ new video intro. It’s great, and looks fantastic on the big screen.

The Oilers need to use that screen to their advantage. A well placed highlight reel goal or big hit, when produced properly, can boost the energy in the building. 

Right now I think they are wasting a great tool, the big screen, by using it mainly to pan the crowd. Smiling fans, or ones finding different ways to drink their beer while on screen, while funny from time-to-time, add little and get old fast. They are not maximizing one of their best assets. Maybe they are treating it like a young kid and letting him develop slowly, but I think the big screen can handle more than simply panning the crowd.

What have you seen in other rinks, arenas, stadiums or ball parks that excite you? Share them in the comments sections. What would you like to see on a game night?

MONTH OF GIVING DAY THREE

Thank you Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for donating the dinner and to Chris for his generous bid of $7,250. Awesome.

Today’s package:

There are two items up for grabs, and the winning bid can choose which one they want.

A1Heating-logo2015#2

A-1 Heating will supply and install one high efficiency furnace or a Central Air Conditioning System.

This is what you get with the furnace:

  • One Bryant Preferred Series 96% high efficiency 2-stage variable-speed Energy Star furnace
  • All venting and materials to complete installation up to code
  • All sheet metal modifications to maximize performance of new equipment.
  • City permit and City inspection fees
  • Removal and disposal of old furnace
  • 2 year labour warranty
  • 10 year parts warranty
  • Lifetime heat exchanger warranty

This is what you get with the Air Conditioning System:

  • One Bryant Preferred Series 16 Seer Central Air Conditioning System
  • All electrical connections with outdoor safety disconnect
  • Anti-vibration pad or wall brackets
  • Bryant thermostat
  • City permit and inspection fees
  • 2 year labour warranty
  • 10 year parts warranty

You will receive a site visit from one of their comfort advisers before installation to take measurements and determine proper size of Air Conditioning system/Furnace for your home and where it will be installed.

To bid you can call 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today. Thanks in advance for your bid. All proceeds will go to Operation Friendship Seniors Society.

Recently by Jason Gregor:    

  • Who Are You with Oscar Klefbom
  • GDB 25.0: Avoid self destructing
  • Oilers need to be better
  • GDB 24.0: A budding rivalry
  • Monday Musings: This is who the Oilers are 
  • GDB 22.0: Desert Storm 
  • Oilers Report Card
    • smiliegirl15

      I miss the guy who used to come to Rexall with the plastic drum. He would get the crowd going.

      I was sitting in Section 233 at the Wild game. The people above me tried to start the wave before the lower bowl did but it didn’t catch on. The corners are hidden.

      As for cheering, it seems like a cheer gets started but the other end of the rink can’t hear so they cheer over each other and it dies. I don’t know what the solution is. I agree they could do a better job with the video. Even between periods, the screen couldn’t be more boring.

    • @Hallsy4

      There’s little to no emotion in the games anymore. In the old days it seemed the teams hated eachother on the ice. A borderline hit or slash, followed by a couple fights, and the fans would be into it. Now you’re not allowed to hit (hard), there’s no fights, and the players are all best friends with opposing players. Heard stories in the decade of despair of some Oilers partying with other teams a day or two before the game in Edmonton. I kinda like peace and quiet when I watch, so I watch at home, but it’s tough to get too into it when both teams are just out for a Sunday Skate.

    • @Hallsy4

      Some really good ideas from the nation on here. Does Katz have a rat or two who reads/contributes to sites like this? If not, he should, free marketing intel from the customers. Give the people what they desperately need! ADAM OATES

    • MBudz

      Thank. You. Gregor.

      I came up from Calgary on Saturday for my first game at Rogers place and noticed the same things. I think there is a distorted view of the “fan experience.” The best experience for fans is one that pulls people into the game and draws focus to what’s happening on the ice. They need to create an atmosphere that encourages a united crowd and doesn’t highlight the individual in the seats. I specifically noted this to my friend when going to OT and there seemed to be a mandate to get as many fans as possible on the screen before the puck dropped. I’m sitting there biting my nails in anticipation for the most exciting 5 mins in hockey and then look up to see giddy duck faced pre teens attempt to take a selfie with themselves in jumbo screen. Are we at a professional sporting event or a stadium sized photo booth? That doesn’t get the crowd going, it doesn’t get the team going. It serves no purpose. People start treating the game as a place to be seen and not a place to cheer for their team. I enjoyed the win, but the game felt less like “lets go Oilers” and more “look at me!” On a side note, there was a baby right behind me with no headphones or hearing protection, screaming the entire game. At first I was annoyed, but then I thought at least that’s one fan making some noise.

    • O.C.

      Easy.
      Real prizes for legit fans.
      The best dancers.
      The best singalongers.
      The best dressed in Oilers Garb.
      The loudest fans.

      Legit awards. Not the predetermined section. It doesn’t need to be much, even a $5 off at the concessions. They don’t care what the prize is, they want to be recognized.

      A theme song. A good one, not something lame. Think Liverpool.

      Cheaper beer before the game starts.

      A bit of quiet time after the whistle so fans can yell “Nice Call!” or “Nice Dive Princess!” before the next mad rush to market a crappy pizza to us.

      All the marketing sucks the life out.

      How hard can this be? Go to a Seahawks game. They get it.

    • jamboy

      FINALLY!!!!! Thank you Gregor for doing this article. The games from places like San Jose, Nashville, and Chicago make Rogers Place look like a state funeral!!! For starters…..the Music! Whoever picks the popish bubble crap at rogers place needs to be FIRED!!! Let a different player pick the song every time they skate onto the ice….their favorite song that pumps them up before a game. Maybe have each player do an intro video explaining how the song gets them going. Them team would certainly benefit from this…to come out to a pumped up loud crowd. Make it a little darker, edgier….more metal less pop! It’s a bloody hockey game not Kurt Browning and friends! LOSE the stupid fan cam! Nobody cares! The entertainment crew should make up some loud “soccer stadium-ish” chants and have them on the big screem to get the crowd into chanting along. The fan experience is sooooo boring there. I think our goal horn is bad too. Make it deeper…more like an Air raid siren or tugboat less like a really loud Camry! Engage the crowd don’t bore them to death!!!!!

      P.S. The Anthem singer sucks too. the constable from Ottawa is Awesome. The Boston guy gets the crowd into too…with an ANTHEM! I feel like I should say amen after our guy is done.