ICE District Plaza expecting bigger crowd for Oilers playoff run

By Laura Krause

The energy was electric at the newly-opened ICE District Plaza last playoff season, and the Oilers Entertainment Group is preparing for even larger crowds this year as the Oilers secured a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

“One of the big challenges we had was fitting everyone in. It just became over capacity once we got into the second round,” said Stew MacDonald, president and CRO of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

“First of all, we will double up because we will have two locations, but yes we are trying to accommodate. And I think that’s where it surprised us last year. It reached capacity and beyond, with fans hanging outside the plaza waiting for a chance to come inside. It certainly put a strain on the resources we had. We kept expanding that during the playoffs, but it was great learning for us.”

While there is no Battle of Alberta rivalry this season, with the Oilers the only Alberta team in the playoffs, the OEG is getting ready for a bigger and better fan experience.


The space across the street will soon be transformed into the Ford Tailgate Party — adding a second outdoor space for fans to cheer on the team.

“We were here several times last year, it was awesome. It wasn’t anything I’ve ever seen before. Edmontonians are very loyal with their sports teams so it was really good,” said one Edmontonian CityNews spoke with.

Rendering of the 2023 Ice District. (Photo Credit: Oilers Entertainment Group)

The Oilers advancing means the party continues for downtown restaurants and bars too.

“If it’s anything like last year, it’s going to be crazy like last year was just great all around for the area,” said John Vizza, Kelly’s Pub.

Last playoff season, Oilers fans flocked to downtown bars and restaurants on game days to cheer for the team. Business has since slowed down at Kelly’s Pub, but Vizza says it has they’re excited to see large crowds once again

“It’s great to see it busy again and all happy, it just means the world to everyone here.”

OEG says they want to enhance fans’ experience downtown. And yes, that includes more porta potties to accommodate the large crowds.

“Entertainment in both, big screen in both, food and beverage in both, families welcome everywhere, and it will be a lot of fun celebrating downtown,” said MacDonald.

“That’s one thing that surprised us last year quite frankly was how many people were out, waiting for a chance to get in to watch the game in the plaza, so it was that point where we knew we needed more space. We know how passionate Oilers fans are, how much they love being downtown and around the arena on game night so this was the most logical extension.”

The gates to both watch parties open on home game days two hours before puck drop. Admission is free, but fans are encouraged to arrive early as space is limited.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today