Wednesday marked a milestone for the Edmonton Oilers, who opened Rogers Place with a 7-4 win over the Calgary Flames.
While the win certainly added to the evening, the opening of Rogers Place alone generated a significant amount of fanfare. Among the former Oilers who returned for the event included Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky, the latter of whom turned out to be one of the focal points of the event. More from Global News:
Earlier Wednesday, the Oilers unveiled the refurbished three-metre bronze Gretzky statue outside the arena.
Gretzky, his family, and former star teammates Messier, Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, and Paul Coffey were on hand.
The Oilers also opened the team’s hall of fame room, and Oilers owner Daryl Katz — with Gretzky beside him — announced Gretzky is now a partner and vice-chairman of the Oilers umbrella organization, the Oilers Entertainment Group.
The only NHL arena to debut this year for regular season action, Rogers Place had drawn positive feedback from fans upon previous tours and managed to draw big crowds for its first events. That trend continued into Wednesday, with a reported 18,550 fans turning out for the Rogers Place opener.