At Sunday’s Edmonton Oilers playoff game at Rogers Place, some female fans were surprised to find women’s bathrooms had been converted to men’s, causing their wait times to increase.
Earlier in the playoffs, male fans had complained about lengthy lines for washrooms during Oilers playoff games.
The Oilers Entertainment group attempted to cut down on the wait times by adding a staff member to the washrooms to help point out empty stalls and putting sticks on the floor to assist fans in knowing where to line up.
Watch below: In response to fans, Rogers Place has made a few changes to help speed up washroom lineups during hockey games.
But on Sunday night, Rogers Place did something different, flipping women’s bathrooms to men’s in an attempt to reduce wait times for male fans.
“For playoffs, what we’re seeing is we’re getting predominantly men in here – the more exciting the hockey gets, I think the less guys are willing to give up their tickets,” said Susan Darrington, general manager of Rogers Place. “So we’ve adjusted our plans and we flipped a restroom on our main and on our upper concourse to be more available for men.”
On Sunday night, the women’s bathrooms backed up and female fans took to Twitter to voice their concerns.
“We came across an extremely long lineup and found out that was actually the lineup for the women’s washroom. And we had to go, we had to wait,” Jacqueline Comer said.
She estimated she got into a bathroom line on the upper level about two minutes into the intermission and spent about 25 minutes waiting to use the washroom.
“It was ridiculous. Waiting five minutes, 10 minutes – it’s OK. But waiting half an hour? That’s not acceptable,” she said.
Charlene Zacharuk encountered the same issue.
“I go to the washroom that’s always the women’s washroom and it’s a men’s washroom. So we make our way three-quarters of the way around the building and the women’s washroom is 60 deep,” she explained. “There was no lineup at the men’s washroom that was previously the women’s washroom, so that made it even more frustrating.”
Darrington said staff are trying to address the issues.
“We clicker count, we’ve got people watching the lines and again, we’re studying them and doing everything we can operationally to make it as comfortable as we can for our fans.”
She said staff survey season-ticket holders to try and get an idea of how many men are coming to a game compared to women.
“You’ll never make everyone happy. I think we actually feel good about what we’ve done. The men are getting through faster, the women are seeing a little more of a delay.”
Zacharuk said flipping the bathrooms isn’t a fair solution.
“I get that the men had to wait, and it was an inconvenience for them, but they solved the problem by creating another problem.”
Not wanting to miss a minute of the action, Zacharuk chose not to drink in the second period so she could stay in her seat and avoid the long lineups.
“I don’t know why they couldn’t make it just one unisex bathroom. You could have a choice. If you don’t want unisex, you go to the guys’ or you go to the girls’ washroom,” she said, suggesting the idea as a means of eliminating the wait times for both genders.
Comer felt the decision showed male fans took precedent over women.
“It just felt like we were on the other end of the scale for us in terms of what fans were important,” she explained.
“You should have enough washrooms for the number of people that are going to be in there. I think it’s kind of a no-brainer.”
Rogers Place aims to have fans in and out of the bathrooms in about four minutes, a time Darrington said they were successful with in the regular season.
According to the City of Edmonton, there are 172 toilets and urinals required by code, while Rogers Place has 485. However, some have use restrictions, including company boxes, the Loge Level and Sportsnet Club.