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Edmonton's new 'world-class' arena Rogers Place opens its doors

Edmonton's new 'world-class' arena Rogers Place opens its doors

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 09, 2016

Edmonton's new downtown arena, built in less than three years at a total cost of more than $600 million, is officially open.

Rogers Place, the new home of the Edmonton Oilers, was officially opened Thursday evening.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson told the event that ever since ground was initially broken in March of 2014, the arena has reflected the evolution of Edmonton's downtown core.

"We can say with confidence that we are on the right path to building a more dynamic downtown, the one we all dreamed was possible. Now billions are being invested in the core our city," said Iveson. "This is Edmonton's spirit in action. Our community is coming together to build dreams into a reality."

"And now anyone coming to the city, or who see it on Hockey Night in Canada, will now see a downtown that reflects our aspirations. They will see a great city being built ever higher before their eyes.

"This changes Edmonton forever."

In a news release, Oilers Entertainment Group chairman Daryl Katz said the Oilers and the city have now realized "our collective goal of opening our new downtown arena, and that excitement is still building all around us ... Edmonton will have a world-class urban core to match our world-class community spirit."

"To Oilers fans everywhere, your devotion to the team is incredible. It inspired us to make Rogers Place the very best it could be," said Katz to the crowd on Thursday. 

"Thank you for sticking by the team through thick and thin, this is the city's building but this is your house."

Iveson said Rogers Place is the first of many new buildings that will be opening in downtown Edmonton, including Western Canada's tallest tower. People will look back on today as the day the excitement began."

The 1,110,900 square-foot arena can seat more than 18,000 for an Oilers game, or 20,000 for a concert. Attached to the arena is the Grand Villa Casino, a $32-million, 60,000-square-foot facility jammed packed with 600 slot machines, 28 table games and seven restaurants. 

The people behind the arena — the Oilers Entertainment Group — call it "the most advanced sports and entertainment venue in North America."

Gretzky compared the old Northlands Coliseum (Rexall Place) to the Chicago Stadium and the Montreal Gardens. 

"You know you hate to see those old arenas go, Northlands Coliseum was a special place, but it's a new time and a new era and you have to change with the times."

The Great One said he hopes the new generation of Oilers can build their own identity in Rogers Place.

"What makes an arena really special is when you start winning, when you win championships and that's what makes an arena unique and special.

"The atmosphere is everything. In 1981 when we beat Montreal in the first two games and came home for game three, that's when the atmosphere really changed."

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