A sea of orange and blue took over Churchill Square Tuesday afternoon as the city held an Edmonton Oilers community rally in advance of the Battle of Alberta Game 4.
The city hosted a “Let’s Go Oilers! Community Rally” in front of city hall over the noon hour.
“The city has been absolutely electric,” said Oilers Entertainment Group communications & gaming executive vice president Tim Shipton.
“We can feel it every single day. The team can feel it. The passion that exists in the city for the Oilers.”
Shipton said the team and city wanted to hold a family-friendly event for kids and fans to attend during the day — the event coincided with a PD day for most Edmonton students.
“I think they’re going to do good,” said Calia Maclachlan, whose dad Jerry brought her to the celebration. “I’m not sure about Calgary, because they’re not doing that good.”
Dad added he was super excited about the series.
“Tonight is definitely going to be the game of the series,” Jerry said.
Edmonton is undoubtedly a passionate hockey town, and Shipton said the energy fans are bringing now is unbelievable.
“For folks who were around for the 2006 run, that was pretty special. First year in the building was special. But this is another level,” he said of Game 3 in Edmonton on the weekend.
“That building on Sunday night was as loud as any NHL building I’ve heard — it was as loud as Rogers Place has ever been.
“The players feel it, they feed off of it. So our message to the fans is just keep it going. We want that home ice advantage and we want this run to go on as long as possible.”
Among those in attendance at Churchill Square were Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, city councillors, and several Oilers alumni, including Dwayne Roloson, Ladislav Šmíd, Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe, and Jason Strudwick.
Hunter the Lynx and the Orange and Blue Ice Crew were also there.
Those with their Oilers spirit on full display were eligible to win one of two pairs of tickets to Tuesday’s game.
The city is also opening up Churchill Square as a place to watch Oilers home games on a large screen at night.
Fans are asked to bring lawn chairs for the free, family-friendly, alcohol-free viewing parties. Food trucks will also be on site. Game 4 begins at 7:30 p.m.
Edmonton police advised, as with all home games, there would be significant traffic and pedestrian congestion in the downtown core.
There will be more police officers controlling traffic around the arena after the game, and detours will be in place until pedestrian and vehicle traffic has subsided to safe levels.
Drivers are encouraged to avoid the area around the arena. Fans are also asked to party responsibly, and avoid parading in front of Rogers Place following the game.
BELOW: Photos of fan excitement in Edmonton