Rogers Place open house brings thousands to downtown core
'It was pretty special to walk in just across the main concourse and see the arena with the seats all empty'
After years of watching the Oilers come in last James Torrans finally got to see a first.
The long-time Oilers fan was one of the eight contest winners who got to tour Rogers Place before the state of the art arena was open to the public.
"It was pretty special to walk in just across the main concourse and see the arena with the seats all empty," said Torrans. "To see it in its entirety from what it was being talked about years ago to see it being finished, it's incredible.
"I cannot wait to come see a game, a concert or event."
After Torrans, and the other lucky winners, got their tour the doors opened at 8 a.m. and the crowd came flooding in.
Thousands of tickets for this weekend's open house were reserved within 15 minutes, and in total 57,700 tickets were snatched up. The streets of Edmonton's downtown core showed what's to come this morning, as ticket holders waited to get their first glimpse inside the new arena.
"It's impressive, it looks like anywhere that you will sit you will have a good view of the ice," said Robert Sacchieri, lounging in a main-level seat taking in the view next to his four-year-old daughter Hannah.
"It was worth the wait."
Fans were free to explore most of the 820-thousand square-foot arena. Many tried out the seats, concession and, of course, took in the view. The cellphones were out along the way with many selfies taken with the Jumbotron, the largest one in the NHL.
The tours will continue on Sunday, with more tickets released late Saturday afternoon because of the overwhelming response.
Rogers Place will hold its first event Friday when Keith Urban performs. Dolly Parton takes the stage Saturday night. Drake is at the arena Sept. 20 and 21.
The Edmonton Oilers officially hit the ice for their home opener Oct. 12.