Red Lot tickets sell out quickly, safety measures in place for Game 1 celebrations

·3 min read
Calgary Flames fans watched their team take on the Dallas Stars last week on a big screen in the Red Lot, a parking lot converted to a fan zone outside the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.   (Oseremen Irete/CBC - image credit)
Calgary Flames fans watched their team take on the Dallas Stars last week on a big screen in the Red Lot, a parking lot converted to a fan zone outside the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. (Oseremen Irete/CBC - image credit)

Tickets for the Red Lot viewing party outside the Scotiabank Saddledome sold out quickly for Wednesday night's game as the Calgary Flames enter Round 2 of the NHL playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Red Lot will open at 5:30 p.m., two hours before the scheduled puck drop.

The city is introducing measures to ensure safety for fans during tonight's celebrations, according to a news release. Extra police and peace officers will be present on 17th Avenue S.W.

Traffic will be blocked from 17th Avenue S.W. between Fourth and Fifth streets for about 30 minutes starting at 6 p.m. for the Calgary Stampede Showband performance.

Nearby roads may also be closed after home games so fans can safely leave the Saddledome and Red Lot.

"We encourage all Calgarians to stay off the road in order to stay safe and allow traffic to move," the release said.

Calgarians should expect detours and traffic delays and plan extra time for travel before and after the game.

Parking bans in certain areas will be in effect during all playoff games. The bans will affect 17th Avenue S.W. between Macleod Trail and Ninth Street S.W. starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, and 11th Avenue S.E. from First Street to Fifth Street.

On home game nights, the city will continue to add extra transit service. The city reminded Calgarians in its news release that face covering is still required on transit as per provincial guidelines.

Intense historic rivalry

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek and city council officially proclaimed Wednesday the start of the Battle of Alberta. It's the first time in 31 years that the rival teams have faced each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"Calgarians are excited about our home team being in the playoffs, and we're ready for another round of exciting hockey in the Battle of Alberta," said Mayor Gondek in the city's news release.

"Hockey fans, businesses and Flames players have waited a long time for this kind of electric feeling to be in the air again."

Brian Soebbing, associate professor of kinesiology, sport and recreation at the University of Alberta, studies fan behaviour in sports. He said safety measures will be important during Wednesday's game as there's always a possibility fan behaviour can escalate during major events.

"You're going to see … a historic intensity of a rivalry probably both on the ice but also in the stands," he said.

Soebbing also studies COVID-19 spread amongst fans at sport events. He said those attending the Red Lot or any other large gathering in Calgary should remember basic COVID precautions like masks and handwashing.

"People need to recognize that these places do carry germs and do spread."

Red Lot restrictions

Tickets for the Red Lot are free, but since Sunday's game between the Flames and Dallas Stars, fans have been required to book their spot at the viewing party in advance.

Oseremen Irete/CBC
Oseremen Irete/CBC

The decision to switch the Red Lot to a ticketed event was made in order to decrease lines and wait times, and ensure the safety of those at the viewing party, according to a Tuesday release from the Flames.

"We understand that demand for Red Lot tickets will very likely outweigh supply, and would like to reiterate our tremendous gratitude for the extraordinary support of the C of Red," the release said.

Soebbing said it's not surprising the Flames have introduced a ticket system to the Red Lot, especially for crowd control and security reasons. He's also not surprised about the anger and accusations that occurred online about fans trying to resell their Red Lot tickets for Sunday's game.

"Certainly there is a market there for people who are wanting to pay or wanting to experience that," said Soebbing.

Red Lot tickets have no cash value and are non-transferable, according to the Flames. Those without tickets will not be permitted into the Red Lot.

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