Initial reception suggests that the Edmonton Oil Kings will be beneficiaries of the opening of Rogers Place, as the team’s home opener will break an attendance record.
Along with the Oilers, the Oil Kings will be making the move from Rexall Place to Rogers Place, as the Western Hockey League franchise is owned by the Oilers Entertainment Group. The new arena is expected to be a big boon for the Oilers, and it appears that the Oil Kings are going to receive a boost as well.
For their home opener on September 24, the Oil Kings have already sold more than 18,100 tickets. That surpasses the team’s previous record of 16,651 set at Rexall Place in 2012, and puts them within roughly 1,200 fans of a league mark set by the Calgary Hitmen in 2008.
Obviously, this success is welcomed by team officials. More from the Edmonton Sun:
It will be the first hockey game to take place at the new downtown arena, with 18,102 tickets sold.
“When we found out we were going to get the first game (at Rogers Place) it is a marketing dream, absolutely, 18,000 people for junior hockey is amazing,” said Oil Kings director of business operations Kevin Radomski. “We had a one-hour pre-sale for our season-ticket holders followed by online sales for our general seats and they went pretty fast.
“We actually had to verify the numbers to make sure we weren’t wrong somewhere, because in junior hockey there are always seats available and there wasn’t for our home opener, so we wanted to make sure we were good.”
The closest the Oil Kings came to selling out a building was in March, 2012 when they drew 16,651 at Rexall Place for a regular-season game against the Rebels.
In a notable fact, the move to Rogers Place ensures that the Oil Kings will remain one of just two WHL franchises–the other being Calgary–to play in an active NHL arena. Calgary’s Scotiaback Saddledome is slightly larger than Rogers Place, with room for more than 19,200 spectators compared to in excess of 18,600 at Edmonton’s new arena.