The failure of a couple of rain water pipes caused water to come pouring into the terminus of Ford Hall, along with water damage in other areas.
“We had a bit of a scare, for sure, but there are no issues at all. Everything has been repaired,” said Steve Mayer, the NHL’s chief content officer.
“The control room that had some significant damage, all the equipment that was damaged has been replaced. We’ve turned on the ribbon boards, the scoreboards, all of our data. All back to normal. No problems at all.”
Mayer is stationed in Edmonton as Rogers Place is transformed to be one of the league’s two hub cities for the post-season.
The television presentation will break new ground for viewers. There will be 32 cameras, up from 20 for a normal game. With no fans in the building, there will be never-before-used camera angles.
The games will have a new sound as well. EA Sports will provide supplemental crowd noise. The league will try to simulate the video in different arenas with team-specific presentations.
“When it is their home game, we will lean towards their traditions and those sounds, those chants, those goals songs,” explained Mayer, who said they might use goal songs for the visiting team.
“That will feel a little neutral. When it comes to their fans participating, we are going to be taking into account which team is the home team.”
When not playing, teams will have to stay inside the “bubble” in downtown Edmonton. Areas will be fenced off around Rogers Place and their hotels: the J.W. Marriott, Delta, Sutton Place and Matrix. Players will be tested for COVID-19 daily with testing lanes set-up inside Ford Hall.
But what happens if a player tests positive? NHL medical director Dr. Willem Meeuwisse says the strategy is similar to what happens with health care workers.
“You assume there’s a degree of exposure. In the health care setting, there are number of protective measures that can be taken, like we’re taking in the bubble. The one thing we cannot do with players is put masks on them when they play. But we’re mitigating that risk but doing testing on a daily basis.”
Meeuwisse says the NHL will do contact tracing depending on the degree of exposure. A high-degree of exposure could lead to quarantines.
“We don’t expect (the bubble) to be perfect,” Meeuwisse said. “We expect with the number of people that we’re going to have some positive tests, and we have a method and a process designed in advance to deal with that.”
The NHL, which reported two positive tests for COVID-19 among more than 800 players over the first five days of training camp last week, said it will use DynaLIFE Medical Labs in Edmonton and LifeLabs in Toronto for daily COVID-19 testing.
“We did not want to embark on a strategy that was going to take away protective equipment or testing from vulnerable populations and health-care workers,” Meeuwisse said. “We contracted companies … that we were assured had excess (testing) capacity.”
Exhibition games will start at Rogers Place on Tuesday. The Oilers will play the Calgary Flames at 8:30 p.m. Coverage on 630 CHED starts with the Face-off Show at 6 p.m.
— With files from Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press