Rogers Place is officially open.
In a ceremony full of aboriginal culture, Edmonton spirit, pomp and circumstance, and attended by everyone from city officials to the Great One himself, Rogers Place opened to Edmontonians.
“I want people to understand this place is special, and I hope you guys make some new memories and win some more championships because the city deserves it,” Wayne Gretzky said. “The fans are tremendous, the organization is wonderful, and I wish you all the best of luck and I’m always cheering for the Oilers to do well. Good luck to everyone.”
Gretzky also says Rogers Place is a true reflection of Edmontonians.
“The atmosphere in the building is exactly what Edmonton is all about,” explained Gretzky. “It’s friendly, it’s classy, it’s nice, and it’s warm. And I truly believe Edmontonians are going to brag and talk about the whole entire complex for an eternity.”
The opening of the arena marks the end of a years-long process. Owner Daryl Katz told those at the ceremony that the moment was one that Edmonton had deserved for years.
“With phase one of Ice District and the public plaza complete, for the first time in decades Edmonton will have a world-class urban core to match our world class community spirit.”
Katz added that Rogers Place was truly a group effort.
“I’m extremely proud to be here today,” said Katz. “And to have played just one role among so many others in realizing our collective vision for a vibrant, forward looking, and dynamic downtown with the world’s greatest sports and entertainment venue Rogers Place at its heart.”
At 6:05 Thursday night, Mayor Don Iveson joined Katz as the two officially opened the gates to Rogers Place.
“Now billions are being invested in the core of our city, and rising hopes are reflected in the construction of new residential and office towers, including western Canada’s tallest building, and iconic destinations like this building, and the Royal of Alberta Museum,” Iveson said before opening the gates. “This is Edmonton spirit in action.” Edmontonians will get their first look at the new arena Saturday for the open house.
Iveson also joked about whether he would be at the Oilers home opener.
“I’ve got I blocked out but I haven’t the logistics yet,” said Iveson. “But I’ll just barge my way in using the ‘mayor card’ if I have to, I’ll be here absolutely. Daryl (Katz) leaded over to me and said ‘we’re going to win the Stanley Cup this year’. So I said ‘is that a promise?’ and he said ‘well we’ll do our best’, so I said ‘okay well I’m cheering for you.’ So, we’re all in this together now and really it’s up to the players to do their thing on the ice.” (kb/km/sj/bg)
Hey that was neat. Let’s build another arena. #RogersPlace
— Ryan Byks (@IAmByks) September 8, 2016
— Joseph Doucet (@josephdoucet) September 9, 2016
— Derek Van Diest (@DerekVanDiest) September 9, 2016
— City of Edmonton (@CityofEdmonton) September 9, 2016