Damage to Rogers Place shouldn’t change Edmonton’s NHL hub city plans: Iveson, OEG

Click to play video 'Rogers Place repairs underway after powerful thunderstorm caused damage' Rogers Place repairs underway after powerful thunderstorm caused damage
Rogers Place, where a large number of NHL games are set to be played when the season resumes in a few weeks, was flooded when a severe thunderstorm tore through Edmonton early Thursday evening. Nicole Stillger has more.

Crews have begun repairing the damage at Rogers Place, one day after video posted to social media showed flooding in the downtown arena.

The storm brought heavy rain, winds and hail and a statement from the Oilers Entertainment Group, the tenant of the arena, said the combination caused pressure on the facility’s drainage system, causing two pipe couplings to fail.

Read more: Edmonton’s Rogers Place damaged by ‘significant storm’

The couplings were located in the terminus of Ford Hall at the entrance from 104 Avenue and on the Mezzanine Level corridor on the southwest side of the building.

“The water damage is restricted to those two areas of the building, with the terminus experiencing more significant water damage,” the statement said.

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Click to play video 'Rogers Place damaged during Edmonton thunderstorm' Rogers Place damaged during Edmonton thunderstorm
Rogers Place damaged during Edmonton thunderstorm

“We saw the tweets and videos and obviously we were scared and it’s crazy. We thought it was a sign — first COVID and now this. It’s crazy. We just want to finish the season,” Edmonton Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom said Friday.

“Obviously the whole team was relieved when we came into the rink today. Obviously we’re not as affected as I thought we would be, so we’re just going to stay focused here and do our job every day.”

The damage occurred Thursday night when a major storm blew through the Edmonton area. According to Global News meteorologist Jesse Beyer, downtown Edmonton recieved more than 40 mm of rain in just a few hours.

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“It’s unfortunate to see something like that happen when we were so close to playing, but the arena seems fine now and I guess we’re lucky in some way,” defenceman Adam Larsson said.

The building is owned by the City of Edmonton and on Friday, Mayor Don Iveson said the OEG had been openly communicating with the city on the state of the arena.

“They’re taking the right steps. The city officials are asking the right questions,” Iveson said. We’re in the building management business as well with 900 of our own buildings that we directly maintain so we have some expertise in this area.

“I’m confident the city is asking the right questions about this asset and that the tenant, that is Oilers Entertainment Group, is following their responsibilities and that there’s open and clear communication between the two.”

Rogers Place on July 17, 2020, one day after a major thunderstorm passed through the Edmonton region and flooded parts of the downtown arena.
Rogers Place on July 17, 2020, one day after a major thunderstorm passed through the Edmonton region and flooded parts of the downtown arena. Nicole Stillger/Global News

As the tenant, Iveson said the OEG is responsible for carrying insurance and claiming damages and dealing with the costs of an event like this, as well as the maintenance and repair of the building.

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Read more: NHL, players’ association announce Toronto and Edmonton as hub cities amid coronavirus

“My understanding is that they have completed a preliminary assessment of the building and that the damage is cosmetic and is sort of to the roof’s surface as opposed to any structural damage to the building,” Iveson said.

“The preliminary assessment looks very promising.”

Both parties said the damage caused shouldn’t have any effect on Edmonton’s NHL hub city status.

Read more: Being a hub city may not bring big financial boost to Edmonton: sports economist

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“Crews have begun work on the affected areas and we do not foresee any significant delays or barriers to either the Edmonton Oilers Training Camp or preparations and activities related to our hosting as the NHL Hub City for the 2020 NHL Playoffs,” the OEG said.

“We have been in constant communication with the NHL and have their full support and collaboration as we work through this process.”

Click to play video 'Damage caused as thunderstorms hit parts of Alberta' Damage caused as thunderstorms hit parts of Alberta
Damage caused as thunderstorms hit parts of Alberta

According to Iveson, if that changes, the OEG would be responsible to tell the city and the NHL that the facility cannot host the tournament.

The storm also caused minor wind damage to the parapet flashing on the roof of Rogers Place.

This isn’t the first time roof repairs have needed to be performed on the area that opened in September 2016. In March 2017, crews had to replace nine exhaust fans on the roof due to “component failures” in the mechanical system.

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