Downtown Edmonton preparing for second-round playoff matchup between Oilers and Flames

On game nights, the Oilers bring large crowds into downtown Edmonton. Laura Krause takes a look at how downtown businesses are preparing for the Battle of Alberta.

With the city buzzing ahead of its second-round matchup against the Calgary Flames in the NHL playoffs – the first Battle of Alberta in 31 years – businesses are preparing for hordes of people to descend on downtown Edmonton.

Oilers fans decked out in orange and blue are expected to make downtown Edmonton – from bars and restaurants and the Ice District Plaza – their home over the course of the series.

Games 1 and 2 of the series are at Calgary’s Saddledome on Wednesday and Friday. The series shifts to Rogers Place for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and the following Tuesday.

That means the party continues on game days for downtown businesses coming out of two years of a COVID-19 pandemic, closures, restrictions and a significant drop in patronage.

“To see this many people in the downtown core again after so many years of not having them around here has been awesome,” said Sam Brabbins, the general manager at Edmonton sports bar Home & Away.


People were lined up out the bar’s door last Saturday night when Edmonton clinched a first-round series victory with a win over the L.A. Kings in Game 7.

The Battle of Alberta is expected to bring in even larger crowds.

The Edmonton Police Service says there will be heavy police presence throughout downtown and the Whyte Avenue area to ensure public safety and order for all citizens.

“There’s a point where there’s only so many people you can get in,” said Brabbins. “So we have our staffing sorted out, and our security details. Outside of that, it’s just crowd control.”

Over at the Ice District Plaza, it was also a full house Saturday with a line wrapped around the block.

“We had our lineup out the door,” said Brabbins. “For a while actually we couldn’t differentiate our line and the line going to the plaza. It was just a sea of people.”

Rogers Place tweeted out asking fans to cheer on the team elsewhere, turning away fans after reaching capacity.

The Oilers Entertainment Group says it is finalizing plans with partners and will provide more details Tuesday on its plan to ensure everyone’s experience at the Ice District is enhanced at future games.

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