Fans find Rogers Place flush with trou­ble

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DONNA SPENCER

ED­MON­TON — Rogers Place is full to the brim for the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers play­off run and so are their fans’ blad­ders.

Two women’s wash­rooms — one on each level — were con­verted to men’s wash­rooms for both Sun­day’s Game 3 and Wed­nes­day’s Game 4 of their NHL Eastern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nal se­ries against the Ana­heim Ducks.

Some women vented on so­cial me­dia about long waits Sun­day.

“Thanks @Roger­sPlace for screw­ing the fe­males with the bath­room change. This is chaos,” tweeted one.

Some fans in the arena dur­ing the game were not im­pressed with the sit­u­a­tion.

“I thought the wait was about the same. I was at Game 5 of the San Jose se­ries and it was just as bad,” said Sheri Si­mon. “Two lines go­ing in there, just crazy. It’s not great.”

Those two wash­rooms re­mained con­verted Wed­nes­day de­spite the com­plaints, but stan­chions to ex­pe­dite queues and more staff to di­rect peo­ple were added, ac­cord­ing to the se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of the Oil­ers Entertainment Group.

“We all think it will add up to an im­prove­ment,” Tim Ship­ton said. “We’re go­ing to re­view it at the end of the night and if there’s things we need to change, we will do so. The goal is to get peo­ple back in their seats. We don’t want peo­ple miss­ing the game ac­tion.”

He says it’s a prac­tice at Rogers Place to switch gen­ders on wash­rooms de­pend­ing on what type of au­di­ence an event draws. Men’s wash­rooms be­came women’s wash­rooms for the Dixie Chicks, Lu­m­i­neers, Dolly Par­ton and John Mayer. “We know for play­off hockey, the de­mo­graphic skews to­ward a male crowd,” Ship­ton said.

Oil­ers fan Krista Franchuk says she wasn’t find­ing the lines any faster in Wed­nes­day’s game against Ana­heim, but she didn’t have that big of a prob­lem with the wait. “I was here for the last game of the reg­u­lar sea­son and I haven’t no­ticed a ma­jor dif­fer­ence be­tween then and now,” said Franchuk at the first in­ter­mis­sion. “There was a lineup, but it moved quick, not too bad at all. Plus you make friends in the women’s bath­room lineup.”

Rogers Place, which holds 18,300 for hockey and 20,700 for con­certs, opened last Septem­ber. Ship­ton says there are 485 toi­lets and uri­nals in the build­ing.

“When you have a build­ing as full as it is, it puts pres­sure on all our sys­tems whether it’s food and bev­er­age, cus­tomer ser­vice, safety and se­cu­rity and of course wash­rooms,” he ex­plained. “It’s fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated in the play­offs of course be­cause every­body wants to stay in their seat un­til the fi­nal sec­ond of the pe­riod. You don’t get that flow of peo­ple leav­ing with five min­utes left in the pe­riod to go.”

JASON FRANSON, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Rogers Place is full to the brim for the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers play­off run and so are their fans’ blad­ders.

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