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Better Luck Next Year: Edmonton Oilers play last game at Rexall Place – and mark a decade out of NHL playoffs

Better luck next year: Edmonton Oilers’ rebuild continues
WATCH: The Edmonton Oilers made history last night playing their last home game at Rexall Place, which has been the team's home since the 1970s. As Reid Fiest reports, fans hope the new arena, Rogers Place, will revitalize the team, which is marking its 10th straight year out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If there was any night for the Edmonton Oilers to pull out a win, Wednesday was it. The team topped the Vancouver Canucks 6 to 2 in their last home game of the season and their last game ever at Edmonton’s Rexall Place.

“This building means a lot to me actually,” Oilers fan Stevel Peddle said. “It’s an emotional night.”

READ MORE: Oilers down Canucks 6-2 in final game at Rexall Place

“To see the last game in this building is kind of a sad day for me because it has a lot of memories,” Craig Sinclair, another fan, told Global News.

Few will forget the Oilers’ rise to the glory days including the team’s five Stanley Cup wins and giving rise to the “Great One” — Wayne Gretzky.

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Banners from past championships hang in Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Edmonton Oilers hockey game Wednesday.
Banners from past championships hang in Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Edmonton Oilers hockey game Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Jason Franson
Former and current Edmonton Oilers players gather at centre ice for the farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.
Former and current Edmonton Oilers players gather at centre ice for the farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Oilers fans soak in the team's last game at Rexall Place in Edmonton, April 6, 2016.
Oilers fans soak in the team's last game at Rexall Place in Edmonton, April 6, 2016. Sarah Kraus, Global News
Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers, is shown in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Oilers hockey game Wednesday.
Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers, is shown in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Oilers hockey game Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Jason Franson
Retired players' numbers hang in Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Edmonton Oilers hockey game Wednesday.
Retired players' numbers hang in Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Edmonton Oilers hockey game Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Jason Franson
Rexall Place, home of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, is shown in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Oilers hockey game Wednesday.
Rexall Place, home of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, is shown in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Oilers hockey game Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Jason Franson
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Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers, is shown in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Oilers hockey game Wednesday.
Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers, is shown in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The circular concrete rink in the city's north end hosts its final Oilers hockey game Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Jason Franson

But very few championship banners have been raised to Rexall’s rafters in decades.

“I saw the great teams, and the not so great teams,” Edmonton Journal sports reporter Jim Matheson of the told Global News.

If you add up every game and practice Matheson has covered, it totals 10 calendar years of his life.

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He said fans have come to expect a lack of a post-season.

“I think it becomes like Groundhog Day,” Matheson said. “They (the fans) just expect they’re going to miss the playoffs.”

READ MORE: Canucks fans wonder if supporting team is worth the price

So now the Oilers head into the off-season training — a time for training, re-jigging and the draft.

“That’s the only thing the Oilers ever win… the draft lottery,” Matheson joked.

Last year, they won big with up-and-coming superstar Connor McDavid. Unfortunately, McDavid hasn’t helped the Oilers improve their losing ways yet.

There are high hopes a new chapter is about to begin when the puck drops at Rogers Place this fall.

The $480 Million arena is meant to revitalize Edmonton’s downtown core — and hopefully the team, as well.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing it,” said Rod Phillips, the former voice of the Oilers.

He called more than 3,500 games for the team and has rarely missed watching them on TV since he retired in 2010.

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“I don’t anticipate it’s going to be a lot better next year, but they seem to be going in the right direction,” Phillips said.

READ MORE: Montreal Canadiens end roller-coaster season on sidelines

But a fancy new arena won’t be enough, said 630 CHED radio host Reid Wilkins.

“I just think the team has to win and they have to build around McDavid,” Wilkins said.

Philips believes “it’s only a matter of time” until the Oilers turn things around

“I think it’s only a matter of time before they get things turned around,” Philips said.

“We’ll have some more glorious days in Edmonton,” he said.

“Better Luck Next Year” is a week-long series airing on Global National looking at the impact of Canada’s Stanley Cup playoff drought on the teams, the fans and the seven cities home to NHL teams. Watch Global National at 6:30 p.m. ET/AT and 5:30 p.m. MT/PT.

WATCH: More stories from Global National’s “Better Luck Next Year” series

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