Downtown Edmonton prepares for Oilers Stanley Cup playoff run

The Edmonton Oilers have secured home ice advantage in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and for the first time since the arena was built, the plaza outside of Rogers Place will be in full swing.

A win Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins meant the Oilers will be at home when round one starts next week.

“The nice thing about playoffs is, the fans bring the energy,” said Tim Shipton of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

There will be a new epicenter for that energy this time around. The public plaza just south of Rogers Place is now complete and the Oilers have big plans for it.

“There’s an area 18 plus, beer gardens style, and then also an area for families to come down,” said Shipton.

There will be food, live music, Oilers alumni and a big screen showing every game.

“You don’t have to have a ticket to the game, you can come to the plaza. It’s open to anybody who wants to come down and you can just really soak up that playoff atmosphere,” Shipton said.

Bars and restaurants in the area are expecting a big boost to business with foot traffic from watch parties.

Home and Away opened across the street from the arena in March, and general manager Sam Brabbins said the playoff run couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s been like the stars aligning since we first opened,” he said.

Between being bounced from the playoff bubble by Chicago in 2020, and last year’s first round sweep at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets, hopes are high for a better performance this year.

The last time the Oilers made it through the first round was in 2017 and celebrations lasted well into the night.

“The thing that we always have to remember is that downtown is a residential neighborhood, there are people who live here, who need to sleep at night,” said Ward O’Day-Min Councilor Anne Stevenson.

She’s optimistic Oilers fans will behave.

“I’m super excited to see the life it will bring to our downtown,” she said.

Away games will also have watch parties, which will be free to view in the plaza and cost $5 to watch in the arena. Proceeds will go to the Oilers Community Foundation.

A list of performers and Oilers Alumni attending will be posted on the Oilers website.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson

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