The future looks green!

Oilers Captain Andrew Ference took part in the 2015 Green Sports Alliance Summit this past week in Chicago, Illinois as a Keynote Speaker and member of the NHL Sustainability Symposium. ‘Captain Green’ shares his thoughts on sustainability and the future of Rogers Place.

Why is sustainability important in the NHL?

There’s so much to talk about, it’s really hard to narrow it down! There are a couple of key things that the National Hockey League (NHL) is doing, but also on the individual team side too that are really quite cool and of course important. I think the one thing that I’m most proud of is that the League has leadership from Commissioner Gary Bettman to do basically everything we can – whether it is at a League level with buying the energy that runs the games to offsetting all of the travel, to making huge investments in water recovery – all of these different initiatives that at first glance you wouldn’t really think would have a lot to do in professional sports or the NHL, and all things that you might not think would be high on our radar, but are in fact. We’re doing them and paying close attention to these green initiatives because it’s the right thing to do and it’s something that we believe strongly about. We care deeply about the sustainability of the sport. For instance, to have outdoor rinks and to keep the tradition of hockey and playing/skating outside is something that could potentially be in danger obviously with the change in climate and other factors. Being green and being smart about initiatives both on a League level and a team level can have a huge positive impact and this is why we do it.

What are some key messages you’re sharing at the 2015 Green Sports Alliance Summit?

If we’re talking at the team level, we can take our new arena, Rogers Place, as an example. You can see the innovation that’s happening and the new technology that’s going into the planning and execution of this new arena – these ‘things’ are making huge new buildings very efficient and it will allow them to be run with so much less energy than they used to. Also, Rogers Place is an opportunity to use this new technology and to promote it and to show it off and use as an example of how well it can work on such a large scale. That’s what I think is neat, that every city has these sports teams which kind of act like the pillar of their given communities and the teams are expected to be leaders in the community in certain ways and I’m just glad that from a sustainability point of view, a lot of these sports teams are through their venues and arenas, becoming leaders in their community with some of their technology, innovations and green initiatives. There’s a lot of neat stuff going on around the League and everyone is doing different things – there’s different climates, different situations for individual arenas they have, but all together the NHL is making a huge impact.

Why is it important to you that Rogers Place will achieve LEED-Silver status?

I’m proud to work in the NHL and to work and play for an organization that is building a LEED-Silver sustainable building because it shows that they respect their community and they respect the community that we play in. Sustainability and taking care of your environment, losing less resources, and so forth – it’s all about respecting who is coming here after you in the next generation and many more to come, and whether it’s local air pollution or anything like that, it’s about caring where you play and so I’m happy to work for a League and a team that does care.

As an Edmontonian and after growing up here, to see this new technology being put to use for this world-class facility, Rogers Place, it’s exciting to know that other cities will look at it with envy. Other people will come and look at Rogers Place and our technology and learn from it and that’s really cool. It’s not any different than being proud of Edmonton’s world-class waste management facilities. As an Edmontonian and as someone on the Oilers, I think it’s really special to have Rogers Place be a world leader and the fact that it’s in our city makes me really proud.