A major milestone is on tap for the Edmonton Oilers, as the team is set to receive the keys to Rogers Place.
On Thursday, PCL Construction will hand the keys to the Oilers as part of a special ceremony. Rogers Place is opening to plenty of hype, not only because it makes the Oilers the only NHL squad to move into a new arena this season, but for some of its notable elements. Proponents of Rogers Place and the adjacent Ice District are expecting the project to bring additional revenue into downtown Edmonton, making it part of a trend of NHL arenas that are planned as part of larger development projects. (Set to open next season, the Detroit Red Wings’ Little Caesars Arena will follow a similar model.)
Additionally, Rogers Place has been hailed as one of the most environmentally sustainable arena or stadium projects of its kind. It was the first NHL venue in Canada to become LEED-silver certified, a designation that was received, in part, for its low-impact construction process.
Following Thursday’s ceremony, Rogers Place will be ready for action, with the ice receiving some use before the Oilers begin play. More from the Edmonton Sun:
In the coming days expect a closed-to-the-public game involving the neighboring Grant McEwan Griffins and U of A Golden Bears and all sorts of skaters to take to the ice before the WHL Oil Kings open their season Sept. 18 against the Red Deer Rebels and the NHL Oilers play a split-squad pre-season game Sept. 26 against the Calgary Flames.
“In general you want people skating on fresh, or green, ice whether it’s the first time it went in or the 41st time. Green ice is not as durable as it will be once it gets skated on,” said Rogers Place assistant GM Mike McFaul.
“You have to get people out to skate on it, to put in all the skate marks and grooves. When you go and resurface that ice, it allows for a harder surface, a tougher surface, more bonded,” he added.
“We do the same thing with the Brier,” said Jason Rimmer. “We make sure we get the club curlers to come out and throw rocks before the event starts.
“Randy Ferbey has been lobbying hard to let him come out so he can say he was the first to throw the first curling rock at Rogers Place,” added ice maker Rimmer, who throws third rock in a Tuesday midnight league with the six-time Brier champion.