Goodbye Northlands: Demolition set for Edmonton Oilers' old arena

Dec 14 2022, 4:40 pm

Rexall Place will stand no more after Edmonton city council voted on a plan Tuesday to demolish the longtime home of the Edmonton Oilers.

The rink, formerly known as Northlands Coliseum, is set to be torn down in 2025 at a cost of $35 million. It has sat empty since 2017 when the Oilers moved to Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton.

Ward MĆ©tis Coun. Ashley Salvador said the structure cost the city about $1.2 million last year, according to the Edmonton Sun.

“There was an understanding that we would not leave a gaping wound in the community for a decade, but this is what has happened,” Salvador said, per the paper.

“I feel very strongly we need to make a decision now in order to minimize that financial damage. I don’t think it’s responsible to keep kicking this down the road at the expense of taxpayers.”

The motion to demolish the arena passed 8-5, with Sohi and councillors Karen Principe, Sarah Hamilton, Jennifer Rice, and Keren Tang in opposition to the idea.

Original plans for Rexall Place included converting it into a multi-layered skating rink, though renovation costs scrapped that plan.

Northlands Coliseum served as the inaugural home for the Edmonton Oilers both in the WHA and NHL and originally opened November 10, 1974 — almost two full years after construction on the facility commenced — at a cost of $17.3 million to build.

The final NHL game was placed at Rexall Place on April 6, 2016, against the Vancouver Canucks, with current Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl scoring the final goal in the building.

It was the NHL’s third-oldest and third-smallest building at the time Rogers Place was proposed in 2010, and through its tenure housed the Oilers, Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL/WHL), Edmonton Rush (NLL), Edmonton Drillers (CMISL/NPSL/NASL), Edmonton Road Runners (AHL), Edmonton Sled Dogs (RHI), and Edmonton Skyhawks (NBL).

The venue was also used in the 1978 Commonwealth Games, the 1981 and 1984 Canada Cup, the 1994 Canadian Figure Skating Championships and 1996 World Figure Skating Championships, the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, the 1995 and 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, and the Tim Hortons Brier in 1999, 2005, and 2013, according to Wikipedia.

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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