It was a moment a group of young hockey players and Edmonton Oilers will never forget.
A group of Edmonton Minor Hockey Association players and Oilers players strapped on their skates Thursday morning and were first to skate on the ice at Rogers Place.
The minor hockey league players were randomly selected to take part in the historic event.
“It was really kind of smooth, and I got to score a goal when all the pucks got thrown out,” six-year-old Carson Carter said.
Carson was joined by Connor McDavid who was one of the Oilers on the ice.
“It was pretty special. This building is absolutely amazing. I mean you guys can see it. To be out here today is pretty special,” McDavid said.
Oilers Entertainment Group chief executive officer & vice chair Bob Nicholson was inside the new building Thursday and was thrilled with what he saw.
“I’ve been pretty impressed. It’s the best in the world, and now to see players on the ice…that’s why Daryl Katz built this, to make sure that the Oilers would have something special and the first place that it starts is right here on the ice,” Nicholson said.
The new downtown arena will officially open its doors on Sept. 8. There will be a Rogers Place open house Saturday, Sept. 10 when the public will be given free tours of the facility.
The tour will include a look at the Ford Hall artwork by world-renowned Indigenous artist Alex Janvier, the massive high-definition scoreboard and the arena concourse.
The Edmonton Oilers have handed out nearly 50,000 tickets for the tours.
The Oilers will inaugurate their new arena on Oct. 12 when they face the rival Calgary Flames on the opening night of the 2016-17 NHL season.
The first concert scheduled at Rogers Place is country star Keith Urban, who will perform on Friday, Sept. 16.