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City of Calgary, police ready Red Mile plans for Battle of Alberta

Fans celebrate following the Calgary Flames game 7 win on May 15, 2022. Global News

The City of Calgary and its partners are ready for a Battle of Alberta for the ages.

The first game between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames in the second round of NHL playoffs takes place Wednesday evening.

Organizations like the Calgary Police Service have plans for how to accommodate fans flooding down the Red Mile as the Flames take on the Oilers.

“Certainly this next series here, the Battle of Alberta, has been three decades in the making and there’s a lot of excitement about it, including me here,” Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld told Global News Morning Calgary.

Read more: Divided households ready for Battle of Alberta playoff series

Parking restrictions will be in place along 17 Avenue S.W. between Macleod Trail S.W. during game days. Parking bans will also be in place immediately north of the Saddledome and Stampede grounds, along 11 Avenue S.E. between 1 Street to 5 Street S.E.

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Pre-game outdoor entertainment will include the closing of 17 Avenue S.W. from 4 Street to 5 Street S.W., for about 30 minutes starting at 6 p.m. for a performance by the Calgary Stampede Showband. The Showband will then make its way towards the Palace Theatre at 8 Street S.W. for a 6:45 p.m. performance.

“And then I think when it comes time for the game to let out. I think people are pretty used to some temporary closures to get the downtown cleared out,” Neufeld said.

Click to play video: 'Calgary police chief discusses last week’s fatal crash, gun violence and Battle of Alberta preperations' Calgary police chief discusses last week’s fatal crash, gun violence and Battle of Alberta preperations
Calgary police chief discusses last week’s fatal crash, gun violence and Battle of Alberta preperations – May 18, 2022

Neufeld said the city’s police will have a flexible response to allow both public safety and a celebratory environment, taking lessons from the first round of the playoffs.

“We are very pleased with round one, as not only did the Flames win, but the majority of citizens and hockey fans were respectful of local businesses, residents, laws and bylaws while celebrating,“ Ben Brackett, team lead for festivals and events with the City of Calgary, said in a statement.

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“Calgarians have a long history of celebrating in a safe and respectful manner, and we expect that to continue in the second round.”

Calgary Transit will be adding extra service around the games to support demand. Transit officials remind riders of the provincial mask mandate for all public transit.

Read more: Flames, Oilers bring potent offences to second round NHL playoff series

Officials also remind anyone planning to drink to find a safe way to get home, including transit, rideshare, taxi or limo, and to check the identity of the driver and vehicle before getting in.

Scooter riders are asked to use the bike lanes on 5 Street and 12 Street S.W. and to not double-up on the electric vehicles.

Calgarians are reminded that alcohol is only permitted in licensed establishment and public consumption of cannabis is against the law. And the city’s alcohol in parks program doesn’t yet include Tomkins Park at 8 Street S.W.

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“Our folks will be engaging the crowds very positively, encouraging people to have a safe time and have a good time, but also to celebrate respectfully, you know, keeping in mind that there’s a lot of people living in the area of 17th Ave,” Neufeld said.

Plans for the second round of the NHL Playoffs were created in consultation with CPS, the Calgary Flames, the 17th Avenue BIA, and the Beltline and Mount Royal community associations.

“Hockey fans, businesses and Flames players have waited a long time for this kind of electric feeling to be in the air again,” Mayor Jyoti Gondek said in a statement.

“I’m really pleased with the way the City of Calgary has collaborated to create great experiences for everyone to enjoy during this series.”

Gondek also proclaimed May 18, 2022, as the start of the Battle of Alberta.

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