Nine exhaust fans on the roof of Rogers Place are set to be replaced in the coming weeks, which will affect traffic around the downtown Edmonton arena.
“We found that since opening the building and commissioning the mechanical system at Rogers Place, we’ve seen some component failures,” Oilers Entertainment Group spokesperson Tim Shipton told 630 CHED.
“Not in all nine exhaust fans, but there have been enough failures that the project team determined that it was the right course of action to replace these roof exhaust fans.”
He said the problem is the fans don’t clear smoke as well they could. The issue was discovered while testing, not during any events where pyrotechnics would be set off.
“With projects of this magnitude and the scale of Rogers Place, changes and… modifications at this point are not uncommon,” said Rick Daviss, executive director of the downtown arena project.
“The costs are going to be managed within the project budget. We’re not going to go back and be requesting more funds for this.”
Daviss said a piece of the housing for one of the fans broke off and landed in a nearby unoccupied construction site.
“We did do an immediate investigation of that. It was determined there was no public safety concern, but we did go out and secure the balance of the fans and fix the one fan.”
He added it’s important the fans are operating at full capacity especially if there’s smoke inside Rogers Place, during a pyrotechnic show, for example.
The fan problem also brings up questions about the ice at Rogers Place. In February, Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan chose his words very carefully when asked about the ice surface the Oilers are skating on.
“I still hear players, and in fact I catch myself a little bit at times, mumbling or grumbling about it,” he said. “It’s got a ways to go, but our building is no different than a lot in the National Hockey League this year. There’s talk all over the place about ice quality.”
“We’re working hard to get ours into tip-top shape.”
The Oilers’ banners were recently moved to a new location in the rafters to change the air flow in the arena.
Shipton said there’s not a direct “connect-the-dots” correlation between moving the banners, the exhaust fans, and the ice. He insists they have nothing to do with the ice surface.
“There’s multiple factors that have gone into ice-making this year, and certainly when you bring a new building and a new sheet of ice into play, you continue to test it, so we continue to do that.”
“Our operations group, led by our ice-making team, continue to develop different processes and systems to try to make the best ice,” he added. “Our goal, as it should be, is to have the best ice in the NHL and we continue to do that work to get there.”
City spokesperson Charity Dyke said the tentative plan is for the work to begin the week of March 20.
“Various lane closures on the roads adjacent to Rogers Place will occur to facilitate the replacement of nine exhaust fans located on the roof,” a city news release said.
Shipton said cranes will be brought in to do the heavy lifting.
On Wednesday morning the City of Edmonton said timing and specific details of the lane closures will be announced closer to the start of the replacement. The city said it’s anticipated the work will take three or four days to complete.
– With files from Reid Wilkins, 630 CHED and Karen Bartko and Emily Mertz, Global News