Rogers Place officially opens its doors
A look inside the arena that “changes Edmonton forever”
by Jenn Mentanko
The much-anticipated Rogers Place officially opened its doors Thursday evening, after 30 months of construction and a total cost of $614 million. The arena was completed “on time, and on budget,” Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said during the opening ceremony.
“For the first time in decades, Edmonton will have a world-class urban core to match our world-class community spirit,” said Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz. Katz also said walking into the arena for the first time brought “tears to my eyes for what it would mean for our city.”
The oil-drop-shaped facility spans 819,200 square feet, seating 18,641 people for hockey games and more than 20,000 for concerts. That’s almost twice as large as the Oilers’ former home, Rexall Place.
“This place is special,” said Wayne Gretzky, the legendary former hockey player who led the Oilers to three Stanley Cups between 1983 and 1987. “I hope you guys make some new memories and win some new championships because this city deserves it.”
Gretzky took to the ice Thursday morning with sons Ty and Trevor, along with Katz’s children, Harrison and Chloe.
“The atmosphere in the building is exactly what Edmonton is all about,” Gretzky added.
Public art is featured throughout the building, including Alex Janvier’s “Iron Foot Place,” which the city unveiled Thursday morning. Janvier created the mosaic using more than one million tiles to illustrate Edmonton’s history and honour the land the arena sits on.
Ticketed public open house tours take place this Saturday, September 10.