Edmonton Gardens
The Edmonton Gardens was the first indoor hockey arena built in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It was originally built as Edmonton Stock Pavilion in 1913, and held 5,200 spectators after its 1966 renovations. It was home to the World Hockey Association's Edmonton Oilers from 1972 to 1974. The Oilers moved to the brand new Northlands Coliseum after the 1973”“74 season. In addition to the Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, Edmonton Eskimos hockey team, and Edmonton Flyers played their home games at Edmonton Gardens. It held a wide verity of events including hockey, curling, basketball, boxing, figure skating, circuses, rodeos, bingos, car shows, conventions, horse shows, and bull sales. The arena was built at the fairgrounds so that it could be away from the city, and be used as a livestock pavilion alongside the stables and horse race track. The Northlands Park race track still exists on the exhibition grounds. The opening ceremonies were held on Christmas Day 1913, exactly 19 years after Edmonton's first hockey game, in the form of a hockey game between two Stanley Cup finalists, the Edmonton Eskimos and the Edmonton Dominions, over 2,000 fans attended. Their previous arena, Thistle Rink, had just burnt down that year. The Dominion's forward Russell "Barney" Stanley would become a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the arena would be home to other Stanley Cup finalist teams, Memorial Cup teams, and three Memorial Cups. It was the only home of the Edmonton Flyers (1939”“51). The Gardens got the nickname "The Cow Barn" from attendants emphasizing its use as an agriculture exhibition, and its notoriety of bad sight lines and uncomfortable seats. The girders that were also in the way of spectators, dripped water onto the ice surface that created mounds during play. By the 1960s it started receiving criticism as being a fire hazard, a $60,000 improvement in 1963 did not improve its safety, seven Edmonton Fire Department firemen where stationed there during events. With media increasingly calling it dirty, obsolete, and rickety, an April 15, 1966 Edmonton Journal article called Edmonton Gardens "a disaster waiting to happen. The old house with its obsolete lighting fixtures, oily wooden floors, and sordid washrooms is an eyesore to hockey fans." The following month, the city Fire Chief condemned it, and ordered it closed, as a fire hazard. That summer saw a $670,000 renovation that gutted the interior, and replaced the steel girders with eight inch columns at 45°. The wooden bleachers were replaced with a fireproof concrete grandstand, and reduced the seating capacity to 5,200. The Oilers and Oil Kings moved across 118 Avenue to the Northlands Coliseum, now Rexall Place in 1974. Work demolishing the Gardens began January 20, 1982, but disproved the moniker "accident waiting to happen." “First they stuffed it with 50 kilograms of dynamite, then they used a bulldozer, but still the grand old lady of Edmonton sports wouldn’t budge,” one story reported. “Gardens won’t go boom,” the headline read, recounting two days of the crew drilling holes into the walls and supports, and then cramming in 320 sticks of dynamite. An Edmonton Journal article on February 25, 1982 read "Gardens 2 TNT 0. A second try at demolishing what’s left of the Edmonton Gardens ended with a wham, a puff of dust and peals of laughter. The building stood in mock defiance amid hoots of glee from the gallery (of onlookers).” Northlands Park decided to finish the demolition with a wrecking ball. Another arena, Hall D of the Edmonton EXPO Centre, currently occupies the site.

First Home of the Edmonton Oilers 1972”“1974 Succeeded by Northlands Coliseum First Home of the Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL) 1966”“1974 Succeeded by Northlands Coliseum Preceded by Winnipeg Arena and Wheat City Arena Host of odd year Memorial Cups 1961, 1963, 1965 Succeeded by Fort William Gardens Preceded by Thistle Rink Home of the Edmonton Eskimos (WCHL) 1913”“1927 Dissolved

Media

2 photos