(Edmonton, AB) - The 2016-17 inaugural season at Rogers Place was one for the ages as the Oilers celebrated key highlights and record-setting milestones both on and off the ice. From Opening Night on October 12, 2016 to Game 7, Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, Rogers Place became the central hub of energy and excitement in Edmonton, and home to the Orange Crush.
"We've always known our fans are the best in the League but it was truly special to see a new generation show off their pride and passion while creating memories they'll carry for a lifetime," said Oilers Entertainment Group CEO & Vice Chair Bob Nicholson. "From the crowd singing the National Anthems to the number of people showcasing their Oilers pride across not only the city but around the world, it's hard not to get chills just thinking about this exciting new era for Oilers hockey."
For the first time in 11 years, the Oilers earned a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 47 regular season and playoff home games, the Oilers welcomed more than 862,000 fans and set an all-time regular season attendance record. For those unable to score tickets inside the arena during the playoff run, the Oilers also welcomed an additional 6,000 fans to the Molson Canadian Hockey House Watch Parties in Ford Hall.
During road games, the Oilers opened the doors to Rogers Place, giving families and young kids the opportunity to watch the away-game action on the largest true high-definition scoreboard in the NHL. What started as an opportunity for fans to gather soon turned into the talk of professional sports and the hottest ticket in town, with four sellouts and more than 100,000 Oilers faithful bringing the home-game atmosphere to the Orange Crush Road Game Watch Parties powered by Rogers.
The Orange Crush spirit wasn't just on display at Rogers Place. The Oilers and City of Edmonton teamed up to bring Oil Country Game Day Pep Rallies to schools across Edmonton, giving away free Oilers merchandise and hosting special appearances with Oilers Alumni, Hunter and the Orange and Blue Ice Crew. During the first round, the City also hosted a lunchtime rally where thousands of fans came out to support the team, dressed to impress with their orange pride front and centre.
While the Playoffs were truly special for both fans and players alike, the regular season boasted special nights that paid tribute and recognized important partners and initiatives for the organization and city. These included a Remembrance Day celebration, paying tribute to our Canadian Armed Forces, You Can Play Night, where the Oilers used Pride Tape during warmups and shared a message of inclusion, acceptance and diversity alongside the NHL and NHLPA, Hayley Wickenheiser Retirement Ceremony, honouring the Canadian women's hockey legend,
EPS 125, honouring the 125th anniversary of the Edmonton Police Service, and a Citizenship Ceremony where the Oilers welcomed 12 new Canadians who took their Oath of Citizenship earlier in the day at Rogers Place.
The Oilers certainly walked away winners from the first season at Rogers Place but the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) also experienced a record year. The 50/50 draw continued to top the NHL in record payouts throughout the season. The playoffs, however, took it to another level, helping the EOCF set both a League and franchise-record payout of $336,995 on April 12, 2017 with the help of an unclaimed $76,125 carry-over pot from March. The real winners however were the Oilers Foundation and 40 Northern Alberta charities and minor hockey groups who walked away with significant funding for their programs.
2016-17 Inaugural Season In Review
- In only his second season, Oilers Captain Connor McDavid finished first in the NHL in scoring with 100 points (30G, 70A) in 82 games, securing the Art Ross Trophy. He led the Oilers in goals and assists, and tied for the team lead in powerplay points (27). McDavid was also named as one of three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player to his team) and Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the players).
- Leon Draisaitl finished 8th in the NHL in scoring and ranked second on the Oilers in points (77), goals (29) and assists (48). He also led the team in Playoff points (16) and scored his first career NHL playoff hat trick during the Oilers 7-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6, Round 2.
- Cam Talbot posted a total of seven shutouts for the Oilers in 2016-17. He finished first in the NHL for games played between the pipes (73) and tied for first in wins (42), passing Grant Fuhr for the franchise record in single season wins.
- Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan was nominated as one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Award (top head coach).
- Oilers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Peter Chiarelli was nominated as one of three finalists for NHL General Manager of the Year.
- The team welcomed back over 70 Oilers Alumni during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs including notable members of the 2006 Western Conference Champion Oilers - Fernando Pisani, Dwayne Roloson, Ryan Smyth, Ethan Moreau, Raffi Torres, Michael Peca, Georges Laraque and Charlie Huddy (Assistant Coach).
- The EOCF paid out a total of $4.5 million to 50/50 winners throughout pre-season, regular season and the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 40 charities and minor hockey groups receiving funding from the other half of funds raised. Over $1.19 million was paid out to winners during the playoffs alone (including home games and Watch Parties).
- Following Leon Draisaitl's playoff hat trick, approximately 800 Oilers hats were donated to the Bissell Centre, Hope Mission and Operation Friendship.
- During the season, the EOCF hosted three in-game fundraisers including Hockey Fights Cancer, where net proceeds were directed to the Kids With Cancer Society's 'Brainworks' program, Shirts Off Our Backs, with net proceeds donated to the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, and Hockey Talks, with net proceeds benefiting the CASA Foundation's Adolescent Day Program.
- Led by Chloe and Harrison Katz, the EOCF supported the second year of Hockey Helps Kids where a total of 89,808 votes were cast within a one-month voting window. Team Nugent-Hopkins from Father Michael Troy School was the ultimate winner, walking away with $25,000 for Sport Central.
Rogers Place has welcomed approximately two million guests through its doors since opening on September 8, 2016.