When you build your dream home, it’s always a bittersweet feeling moving out of the old house.
That’s how Kevin Lowe, Vice Chair of Oilers Entertainment Group, sees the upcoming transition from Rexall Place to Rogers Place.
“I’ve had a couple years thinking about it, taking time to reflect about all the memories here; personally, I’m so excited about the new building I can’t say I’m going to miss this building,” he said. “It had its time and it was a good place but the amenities for the fans and for the players, and the fact that the building is going to be downtown, it just puts aside any of the disappointment from leaving here.”
That’s not to say Lowe won’t have fond memories. After all, those memories are what have made the aged building one to remember. Aside from the numerous Stanley Cup runs that Lowe and the Oilers made when he was a defenceman with the team for 13 seasons, the arena has witnessed plenty more modern highlights.
“I think all the series, those ’90s teams, those series against Dallas, those were incredible series,” he said. “That was the David [versus] Goliath era and that’s when I think the demographic of our fan base really changed. It was a younger demographic and the building was louder than it ever was, even in the ’80s. Hockey was changing.”
In addition to the lifelong loyalists from the Oilers dynasty days, Lowe said he’s noticed a new era of fans emerge from the rafters and the important role they play for the Edmonton team moving forward.
“We’ve created a whole new fan,” he said. “We’re seeing it now. I run into kids, some of them don’t even know who Wayne Gretzky is. That’s not a bad thing, it just means life moves on, but the ’06 run was a chance for a whole new fan base. A whole new group of Oilers fans to have their time and be proud of their team and not listen to their parents or their grandparents [talk] about the ’80s.