The Edmonton Oil Kings are looking ahead to their final regular season game at Rexall Place after nine seasons in the historic arena, this Thursday, March 17 vs. the Red Deer Rebels and while there have been huge moments for the organization in the storied barn, the hockey club is getting ready to move downtown to their new home at Rogers Place and start an exciting new chapter in the club’s history.
Oilers Entertainment Group’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Stew MacDonald and Oil Kings General Manager Randy Hansch shared their thoughts on Rogers Place ahead of the final regular season game at Rexall Place.
What kind of venue will Rogers Place be for the Oil Kings and what are some of the things that will make it special for the junior hockey crowd?
Rogers Place will be one of the finest venues for junior hockey in all of Canada. We’ve got a lower bowl of just over 9,000 seats which will be terrific for getting the majority of our customers at most games in the lower bowl. Above that is our suites and loge level which will also serve our Oil Kings customers and it gives us a configuration of about 11,000 seats available on a game-by-game basis and if we needed to go past that, the upper bowl would be available to us. We truly believe that we’re going to be well set for the majority of games and we will deliver a great experience with all Rogers Place amenities available to Oil Kings customers to experience and enjoy like never before.
How has the transition been thus far?
About three weeks ago, we completed the transition of Oil Kings customers selecting their seats and moving over to Rogers Place. What’s exciting is that we had a high concentration of people moving into our club seating area and taking advantage of some of the new seating and amenities opportunities in Rogers Place. We’re now out in the market with the new seat sales and it’s going well.
Why does a 5,000+ venue like Rogers Place suit the Oil Kings so well?
The Oil Kings have become one of the most unique junior hockey franchises in Canada with the huge volumes they achieve and attract on their major nights throughout the year. This season alone, we’ve had about half a dozen games with over 10,000 people which is certainly not the norm for junior hockey in Canada so we need a larger venue to deliver on big nights, including Opening Night, Teddy Bear Toss, Fan Appreciation Night, Pink at the Rink, Hockey Hooky and Family Day. It’s going to elevate these nights and be great for our fans.
–Stew MacDonald, CCO, Oilers Entertainment Group
Tell us your thoughts on what it will be like for the Oil Kings to play at Rogers Place?
It will be a very exciting opportunity for our team and organization. To have the opportunity to be part of the inaugural year at Rogers Place and to have our players be part of this is extremely unique and special. To play there, practice there, access top notch amenities and the facility itself is undoubtedly exciting for our hockey club. It’s a new chapter that’s great for our club.
How do you think it will stack up against other buildings in the WHL?
For our junior hockey club to play in Rogers Place is something really special. For us to be able to present this world-class new facility to our returning, new or future players is invaluable and exciting. Any time you can have a special facility like Rogers Place to present to your players and staff is huge for our organization. It’s great for junior hockey as well!
The Oil Kings coaching staff and trainers recently took a tour of Rogers Place. What were some of the reactions?
The tour was amazing and obviously our coaches and trainers were excited about all of it. Our Head Equipment Manager Rogan Dean and Head Athletic Therapist Brian Cheeseman have been involved from the start, working closely with Barrie Stafford on the project. Now that we’ve been on the tour, now there’s definitely more excitement, especially when the blue prints you’ve been seeing start to take shape in front of your eyes and you can see how the facility will be in real life. It was also great for our coaches to see what amenities will be available to them in the building to elevate our team. We all realized what a special place it will be.
How do you think Oil Kings fans will enjoy the new venue?
We have great fans and this will only heighten their experience at games. They should be really excited about the whole experience, even just coming to check out Rogers Place. It really will be a whole new experience for our fans and I think the level of excitement during games will be amped up. It will be a fun atmosphere absolutely!
–Randy Hansch, General Manager, Edmonton Oil Kings