City votes to shutter Northlands Coliseum for good at end of 2017
No decision made about the future of the building
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The Northlands Coliseum, home to the Oilers for over four decades, will shut its doors for good at the end of 2017.
City council voted Wednesday to take the facility back and close it down as it was no longer cost-effective to keep it open for events, though they didn't make a final decision about demolition.
The city still plans to repurpose the rest of the site, though plans haven't yet been finalized.
"The future for Northlands after this restructuring is strong and bright,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “After this difficult transition would be in a much better position to drive events.”
Despite voting in favour, Coun. Mike Nickel called the decision "very regrettable," explaining that contractual obligations and missed opportunities left councillors no choice.
“We have to shut the doors and that breaks my heart,” he said.
The rink lost its prime tenant, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, when the team moved to the new downtown Rogers Place last year.
The city had toyed with working with Hockey Canada to turn it into an amateur facility, but found it'd be cheaper to tear it down and build something new.
The circular, concrete Coliseum, located in the city’s north end, was the site of the great Oiler teams of the 1980s and played host to some of the signature scoring moments of one of the NHL’s greatest players, Wayne Gretzky.
It was opened in November 1974 for the Oilers when the team was in the World Hockey Association.
The high point came a decade later, on May 19, 1984, when Dave Lumley fired the puck into an empty net to seal the Oilers’ win over the New York Islanders for Edmonton’s first Stanley Cup.
With files from Canadian Press