There was a time when Taylor Hall thought his Rogers Place debut would come in orange and blue, and not red and white.
The forward, taken first overall in 2010 by the Oilers, will step on the ice at the new arena for the first time as a member of the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. Following an off-season trade, Hall returns to Edmonton for the first time as an opposing player.
"It's different than it would be at Rexall Place," said Hall. "It's a beautiful building but I don't have any relationship to it or anything like that. It's fun to come and see how spectacular it is and the City of Edmonton deserves this. It's fun to be here and see what it's like, but I never played here."
No doubt it will be a strange experience for Hall, but also for fans in attendance - some of which still don their number-four sweaters to games in the new building. Hall predicts the Oilers faithful in attendance Thursday will welcome him as they have for former players in the past.
"I think I'll get a good applause coming back here, and in the past when guys have come back and played, they've always been gracious to them," said Hall. "I don't think it will be any different. That's the kind of fan base and fans and people that are here in Edmonton."
Luckily for Hall, his first game against his former team is already in the rear-view mirror, having played Edmonton in New Jersey on Saturday - a 2-1 overtime win for the Oilers.
"I'm glad I got the first game out of the way in Jersey," Hall said. "That was really weird, even in my home rink, just having to play those guys I played with for so long. I think that makes it a lot easier, but coming back and seeing all the media and the city is different. I'm getting over it, as the day goes on."