I never got to a game at Northlands Coliseum. It was one of the last of the 1960's and 70's generation of NHL arenas to close, shuttering in 2016, but the comparative cost of flights within Canada until recently coupled with the idea of going to Edmonton at all in January meant that it never seemed a priority. And then, suddenly, it was gone.
The arena that was home of the legendary Oilers teams of the 1980's still stands in the north end of Edmonton, in a neighbourhood that's quite honestly a little frightening. It's near an LRT station and surrounded by parking lots, and across a major road from the rest of Northlands, the city's convention centre and fairgrounds. It's a circular white concrete building, free of ornamentation apart from a few frescos near the doors. The one-time marquee sign has been removed, so there's really not much to see.
I tried a bunch of doors on the Coliseum, but no dice. From photos and what I've heard, it was a similar arena to many of its generation of coliseums built from the 60's through the 80's, with a single concourse halfway up the seating level that bottlenecked heavily when the arena was full. I regret missing out, but I'm glad the building was still standing by the time I finally got there.
What's It Used for Today?
When the Oilers left, Northlands, the arena's owner, attempted to keep it open for concerts and such, but they lost money and wound up closing the place for good in 2018. I visited it in 2018 and again in 2021, and both times it was sadly locked up and awaiting the wrecking ball.
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