While I will miss the memories of Oilers and Oil Kings games and the many concerts, this crazy fan won't miss the old barn we know as .
Admit it, the building is just a big round hunk of concrete. It's the memories in that space that we are celebrating. Every team in the league except one (hello Calgary!) has moved into a new building.
The LRT station doesn't connect directly to the building. Cheap parking sucks. The seats are small. The concourse is narrow. The washrooms are old. The concessions were dull. The downstairs bars, while having fantastic staff, didn't exactly offer a wide variety of draft or cocktails.
And worst of all, during concerts, the sound echoed too much. It wasn't designed for concerts, as much as they put in those hangy sound blockers from the room.
So that's what we're really celebrating here, isn't it? The Cups.
Once again, after the 30 year reunion last year and this season's Glen Sather tribute, we old time fans have certainly been inundated with these old memories.
Since those 5 Cups, the only real big memory was the 2006 Stanley Cup game 6 win against the Carolina Hurricanes to send them to the final and deciding game. The building has never been as loud and proud since then. The Paul Lorieau anthems. The sound. The smell. The energy.
Since that 2006 Cup run, we saw great players with heart and soul sent out the door by Kevin Lowe and Co. Pronger, Smytty, Smith, Souray, Roloson, the list goes on and on and on. The 2006 team was magic, lunch pail underdogs, that won over fans from around the world. That's why we loved them with all of our heart. Then the heart was ripped out and bad karma took over.
And it never left.
Hey, don't get me wrong, it's great to reminisce and all, but I want something new to celebrate so we can all prove to the rest of the league and the hockey world, that we fans who have hung in there no matter what, will eventually get rewarded with our deep loving faith. At least we hope.
But what memories have their really been since then, since that amazing time where Oilerism became a new religion?
I've had a few. Every single game I took my dad, girlfriend/fiancee, or best friend to go see the Oilers I vividly remember. I remember the great wins.
But I mostly remember losing and sadness. There was streak of about 8 games I went to a few seasons ago where they didn't win a single one of them. I thought it was me. Now we know it's not even the coaches.
Even with the big tank and rebuild, no matter how many #1 draft picks they won (4 in the past 6 years if you're counting), no matter how many players have come and gone (thousands?), no matter how many coaches (5, if you're counting) or assistant coaches (no one's counting that but it's a lot), no matter how many general managers (3 if you're counting), no Edmonton Oilers lineup can ever shake the curse of Rexall.
So it pleases me that there's a new building with a whole new energy that will be created by old fans, by new fans, and by new players.
Our children will be able to plant their face against the glass and feel the hockey energy that is Connor McDavid like I used to do when I was 10 years old in the front row. They friggin' deserve that--not old memories they have absolutely no connection with.
The curse MUST be lifted. A new era MUST be born. This is OUR Oilers. OUR city.
We want our HEARTS back.
So, Goodbye Northlands Coliesum/Skyreach Centre/Rexall Place.
And good riddance.