Northlands Coliseum

Northlands Coliseum, or simply the Coliseum, is a now-disused indoor arena located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, situated on the north side of Northlands. It was used for sports events and concerts, and was home to the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The arena opened in 1974, and was later known as Edmonton Coliseum, Skyreach Centre, and Rexall Place, before returning to the Northlands Coliseum name in summer 2016.

Northlands Coliseum
Exterior view of Rexall Place (c.2010)
Former namesNorthlands Coliseum (1974–95, 201617)
Edmonton Coliseum (1995–98)
Skyreach Centre (1998–2003)
Rexall Place (2003–16)
Address7424 118 Avenue
LocationEdmonton, Alberta, Canada
Public transitEdmonton LRT (Coliseum)
Edmonton Transit System (5, 8, 10, 99, 127, 141, 142, 318)
OwnerNorthlands (1974-2017), City of Edmonton (2018-)
CapacityHockey: 17,100
Concerts: 13,000 (approx)[1]
Field size497,700 square feet (46,240 m2)[2]
Broke groundNovember 3, 1972
OpenedNovember 10, 1974
Renovated1994, 2001, 2007
ClosedJanuary 1, 2018
Construction costC$17.3 million[3]
($88.1 million in 2018 dollars[4])

1994: $14 million
($21.8 million in 2018 dollars[4]}
2001: $10 million[5]
($13.6 million in 2018 dollars[4]}
2007: $3.5 million
($4.19 million in 2018 dollars[4]}

Total cost:
$127.7 million in 2018 dollars
ArchitectPhillips, Barrett, Hillier, Jones Partners
Wynn, Forbes, Lord, Feldberg & Schmidt[6]
Structural engineerRead Jones Christoffersen Ltd.[7]
General contractorBatoni Bowlen Enterprises[8]
Main contractorsSE Johnson Ltd. (mechanical)[9]
Edmonton Oilers (WHA/NHL) (19742016)
Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) (20072016)
Edmonton Rush (NLL) (20062015)
Edmonton Drillers (CMISL) (2007)
Edmonton Road Runners (AHL) (2004–2005)
Edmonton Drillers (NPSL) (1996–2000)
Edmonton Sled Dogs (RHI) (1994)
Edmonton Skyhawks (NBL) (1993–1994)
Edmonton Drillers (NASL) (1980–1982)
Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL) (19741976)
Official website

The arena hosted the 1981 and 1984 Canada Cup hockey tournaments, the 1978 Commonwealth Games, seven Stanley Cup finals (Oilers loss in 1983; Oilers victories in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990; and Oilers loss in 2006), many other hockey events, along with other sporting events and major concerts.

The final NHL game played at the arena was on April 6, 2016. The building closed on New Year's Day 2018, after ownership of the facility was transferred from Northlands to the City of Edmonton. Northlands had planned to re-develop the arena into a multi-level ice facility, but these plans were scrapped after it was found that renovating the facility would be more costly than building a new one altogether.[10]


Housing the World Hockey Association Oilers, Northlands Coliseum opened on November 10, 1974. On Nov. 30, 1974, Motown star Stevie Wonder headlined the first concert at the Edmonton Coliseum. Then it became the Edmonton Coliseum in 1995,[11] and Skyreach Centre in 1998,[12] before changing to Rexall Place on November 20, 2003, when its naming rights were purchased by the Rexall pharmacy company, a subsidiary of Katz Group Canada.[13] The Katz Group later purchased the Oilers and the Oil Kings. When the naming rights expired on August 31, 2016, the name reverted to Northlands Coliseum.[14]

The arena was used to host games in the 1981 and 1984 Canada Cup hockey tournaments, including Game 2 of the 1984 finals between Canada and Sweden. In the 1995 World Junior Championships, which were held in various cities and towns throughout Alberta, Edmonton Coliseum was the site of several games, including Canada's 6–3 victory over Finland on New Year's Day. The arena was one of the venues for the 2012 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

The venue was the site of several Commonwealth Games sports in 1978, and part of Universiade (the World University Games) in 1983. It also hosted the 2004 WWE Backlash pay per view, and the CHL Top Prospects Game in 2008.[15]

Before the 2007-08 season started, the Oilers dressing room was renovated for $3.5 million. The room is wider with a new medical room, lounge, bar, video room, weight room as well as other new facilities.[16]

The Oilers' final game at Rexall Place was played on April 6, 2016, against the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers won 6-2; the last NHL goal was scored by Oiler Leon Draisaitl. A post-game ceremony was held, featuring current and past Oilers players.[17]

Arena information

The official capacity for hockey when the arena closed was 16,839, which was slightly less than the 17,100 the arena held before the 2001–02 NHL season. It was one of three NHL arenas (the others being the MTS Centre in Winnipeg and Barclays Center in Brooklyn) seating less than 17,000 fans in its configuration. When it opened, the capacity was 15,423, but it was increased to 17,490 after the Oilers joined the NHL by adding an extra tier of seating on the side opposite the press box. This was increased to 17,498 in 1982 and to 17,503 in 1986. The arena underwent an extensive renovation in 1994 in which the seating capacity was reduced to make way for 52 luxury suites. 15 more suites were added in 2001. The arena could also be noisy, as noise levels reached 119 decibels during playoff games.[18]

Northlands Coliseum was the first NHL arena in Canada to have a centre-hung scoreboard with an electronic messageboard; the original scoreboard including a black-and-white dot matrix board. This was replaced in 1987 by a centre-hung scoreboard with a colour matrix screen, which in 1994 was replaced with an eight-sided scoreboard with four video screens. The last centre-hung scoreboard, designed by White Way Sign,[19] featured eight message boards at the top and four video screens at the bottom, separated by LED rings. The arena also featured 360-degree fascia signage by Daktronics.

The Coliseum was the last NHL arena with the player benches on the same side as the TV cameras. In all other NHL venues, the TV cameras are on the same side as the scorekeepers table and penalty boxes.[20]


Given the age and small size of the Coliseum (third oldest and third smallest NHL arena in 2010), the construction of a new arena for the Edmonton Oilers was proposed by the Katz Group in 2010. An agreement was reached in January 2012 between the Katz Group and the City of Edmonton for the construction of Rogers Place in Downtown Edmonton. Construction started in March 2014, and it opened in September 2016 with a seating capacity of 18,347.[21][22] Northlands stated that the old arena would remain open,[23] and a number of concerts and sporting events were still held there even after the Oilers left.

On February 17, 2016, Northlands unveiled plans to convert Northlands Coliseum into a multi-level ice facility,[24][25] with a later proposal calling for a partnership with Hockey Canada to make it a Hockey Canada Centre of Excellence, but it was later discovered that renovating the Coliseum would be more costly than building a new facility.[26][27]

As more major concerts and other events were drawn away to Rogers Place, Northlands experienced declines in revenue. This made it difficult for the non-profit organization to pay off a loan by the City that was used to fund the 2009 expansion of the Edmonton Expo Centre. On September 13, 2017, the City of Edmonton reached an agreement to take over the arena from Northlands effective January 1, 2018 (the same date that control of the Edmonton Expo Centre transferred to the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation under a similar agreement), as it prepared to transition to primarily being an agricultural organization. The venue permanently ceased operations on that date; future plans for the building are yet to be decided. As an aspect of this deal, Oilers Entertainment Group also agreed to release the city from a $17 million (out of $20 million) sponsorship agreement.[28][29][30]

Notable events

Live recordings

The following bands recorded live performances in the arena:

  • ABBA started their North American tour here in 1979, and part of the tour documentary was recorded here.
  • Trooper filmed their single "3 Dressed Up As a 9" from their album Flying Colors on November 9, 1979, at the arena.[32]
  • Billy Graham videotaped his 1980 Northern Alberta crusade at the arena, which also featured a young Amy Grant as a musical guest.
  • Dottie West recorded her 1983 Showtime special Dottie West: Full Circle with the Alberta Orchestra at the arena, which also featured Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, John Schneider, David Frizzell and Shelly West in August 1982.
  • Rush performed at the arena on June 25, 1981; two songs from this concert were included on the 2012 reissue of their album 2112.
  • Yes filmed their 1984 concert film 9012Live at the arena.
  • Nickelback filmed their 2002 concert video Live at Home at the arena.
  • Our Lady Peace recorded part of their 2003 record Live at the arena.
  • Michael W. Smith recorded his live "Worship" DVD at YC Alberta.
  • Corb Lund recorded his 2007 concert on video during the course of the Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! tour.
  • Thousand Foot Krutch filmed their concert at YC Alberta on May 28, 2010, at the arena.
  • Metallica filmed part of their film Through the Never film during their two nights at the arena on August 17 and 18, 2012.
  • Demi Lovato's performance at the arena on October 4, 2014, was filmed for a DVD release.
  • Sixx:A.M. filmed their live video for "We Will Not Go Quietly" at the arena during their September 17, 2016 show.
  • Motley Crue recorded their video for "Home Sweet Home" at their 1986 tour.

See also


  1. "Rexall Place". Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  2. Jones, Terry (April 16, 2014). "City, Katz Group, PCL working together to deliver world-class arena on approved budget". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  3. Markusoff, Jason (March 25, 2008). "Door Not Quite Shut on Provincial Aid". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
  4. Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. January 18, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019. and 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  5. Marquette University Law School's NHL Arenas Finances
  6. "Edmonton Oilers, Rexall Place". Design Intelligence. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  7. Association of Consulting Engineering Companies
  8. "Initial Bids For Coliseum Announced". Edmonton Journal. March 10, 1973. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  9. SE Johnson
  10. Osman, Laura (February 17, 2016). "Northlands hopes to reinvent itself with $165M in renovations". CBC/Radio-Canada. CBC News Edmonton. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  11. Hetherington, Mike (April 6, 2016). "Messier on Rexall Place: Time doesn't stand still". TSN. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  12. Zoltak, James (October 12, 1998). "Skyreach Equipment Ltd. Purchases Naming Rights At Edmonton Coliseum". Amusement Business. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  13. "Oilers' Skyreach Centre Renamed". CBC Sports. November 20, 2003. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  14. Parrish, Julia (August 8, 2016). "Rexall Place sign removed after 13 years". CTV Edmonton. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  15. "Edmonton Oil Kings to host 2008 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game". Hockey's Future. March 28, 2007. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  16. "Oilers Hope Change is Good". National Post. September 18, 2007. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
  17. Tychkowski, Robert (April 6, 2016). "Edmonton Oilers dominate Vancouver Canucks in final game at Rexall Place". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  18. "Rexall Place". Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  20. "Good things come in Threes". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  21. Kent, Gordon (February 12, 2014). "Downtown arena gets green light for $480M". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  22. "Rogers Place arena opens in downtown Edmonton to great fanfare". Global News Edmonton. September 8, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  23. Kent, Gordon (April 8, 2011). "Northlands vows Rexall Place will stay open despite new arena". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  24. Ramsay, Caley (February 17, 2016). "Cost of transforming Rexall Place into two-level ice facility pegged at $85M". Global News. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  25. Solte, Elise (August 31, 2016). "Edmonton Northlands finds public support for Vision 2020". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  26. Stolte, Elise (May 30, 2017). "Council postpones vote on Hockey Canada's Coliseum plan". Edmonton Journal.
  27. Johnston, Scott (May 30, 2017). "Council postpones decision on working with Hockey Canada at Northlands Coliseum". Global News. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  28. Stolte, Elsie (September 13, 2017). "Decision to shutter Northlands Coliseum means demolition on the table". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  29. "Northlands Coliseum will close permanently at end of this year". CBC News. September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  30. Kornik, Slav (September 13, 2017). "Edmonton's Northlands Coliseum closing its doors in January". Global News. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  31. "Raptors Face Nuggets In Edmonton In Pre-Season Tilt". National Basketball Association. July 30, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
Events and tenants
Preceded by
St. Jakobshalle,
Basel, Switzerland
Host of the
World Curling Championships

Succeeded by
Orleans Arena,
Paradise, Nevada
Preceded by
Edmonton Gardens
Home of the Edmonton Oilers
Succeeded by
Rogers Place
Preceded by
an indoor arena
in Red Deer, Alberta
Host of YC Alberta
2000 – 2016
Succeeded by
Enmax Centrium,
Red Deer, Alberta
Home of the Edmonton Oil Kings
Succeeded by
Rogers Place
Preceded by
Ottawa Civic Centre
Home of the Edmonton Rush
Succeeded by
SaskTel Centre,
Preceded by
Credit Union Centre,
Host of the
Tim Hortons Brier

Succeeded by
Interior Savings Centre,
Preceded by
HSBC Arena &
Dwyer Arena,
New York
Host of the World Junior Ice
Hockey Championships

along with Scotiabank Saddledome
Succeeded by
Ufa Arena &
Ufa Ice Palace,
Preceded by
Colisée Pepsi,
Quebec City, Quebec
Host of the
CHL Top Prospects Game

Succeeded by
General Motors Centre,
Preceded by
Halifax Metro Centre
Host of the
Canadian Olympic Curling Trials

Succeeded by
MTS Centre,
Preceded by
Rose Garden Arena,
Portland, Oregon
Host of the National Lacrosse
League All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Pepsi Center,
Preceded by
Tsongas Center at UMass
, Massachusetts
Host of the
World Curling Championships

Succeeded by
Ralph Engelstad Arena,
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Home of the
Edmonton Drillers (CMISL)

Succeeded by
Servus Credit Union
, St. Albert, Alberta
Preceded by
Saskatchewan Place,
Host of the
Tim Hortons Brier

Succeeded by
Brandt Centre,
Regina, Saskatchewan
Preceded by
Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto
Home of the
Edmonton Road Runners

Succeeded by
Cox Convention Center,
Oklahoma City
Preceded by
Worcester's Centrum Centre,
Host of the
WWE Backlash

Succeeded by
Verizon Wireless Arena,
Manchester, New Hampshire
Preceded by
an indoor arena
in Chicago
Home of the
Edmonton Drillers (NPSL)

Preceded by
Winnipeg Arena
Host of the
Labatt Brier

Succeeded by
Saskatchewan Place, Saskatoon
Preceded by
National Indoor Arena,
Host of the
World Figure Skating Championships

Succeeded by
CIG de Malley,
Lausanne, Switzerland
Home of the
Edmonton Sled Dogs

Succeeded by
Orlando Arena
Preceded by
St. Louis Arena
Host of the NHL All-Star Game
Succeeded by
Pittsburgh Civic Arena
Preceded by
Edmonton Gardens
Home of the
Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL)

Succeeded by
Memorial Coliseum,
Portland, Oregon
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