Enhanced Security Measures Vital During Oilers Playoff Run

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As the Edmonton Oilers make their way through the NHL playoffs, excitement is soaring among fans, particularly around Rogers Place and the lively Ice District. However, this enthusiasm is overshadowed by a rise in disruptive behaviour and violence, which has necessitated significant enhancements in security measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone involved.

Escalating Concerns Over Fan Violence

The majority of Oilers fans demonstrate remarkable sportsmanship and support for their team. Yet, a small segment of the crowd has engaged in concerning behaviour, including severe incidents during games against major rivals like the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. These episodes range from minor altercations to more severe incidents like finger-biting, stabbing, and fans breaking through barricades after key victories.

Police and Security Response to Unruly Behavior

To combat these issues, Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee has emphasized the importance of maintaining a positive atmosphere focused on the sport and the Oilers. The response from law enforcement has been robust, with an increase of 30 to 40 officers at upcoming games and related events. This augmented police presence aims to deter potential agitators and address any problems swiftly.

Chief McFee’s message to those contemplating disruptive actions is stern: “If that’s the nature of why you’re coming down here, why don’t you just not come.” His warning is supported by intensified surveillance and proactive measures to identify and handle unruly fans effectively.

Adjustments at Rogers Place and Surrounding Areas

Stu Ballantyne, President of Rogers Place, discussed the unexpected influx of fans arriving hours before the gates open, leading to necessary logistical adjustments. Initiatives like a no re-entry policy and strengthened barricades are being implemented to prevent dangerous situations, such as the recent trampling incident that resulted in a city employee’s injury.

Ballantyne’s comments about the passionate Oilers fanbase and the international spotlight on the city highlight the critical nature of these security measures. The aim is to preserve the festive atmosphere while ensuring safety and order.

Collaborative Efforts for Enhanced Security

The city’s director of civic events and festivals, Nicole Poirier, emphasized the collaborative nature of event security planning, involving multiple agencies including police, transit, fire, and medical services. This coordinated effort ensures that resources and personnel are strategically placed to respond quickly to any incidents.

The Role of Event and Mobile Security in Preventing Violence During Playoffs

In addition to static security measures at venues, the deployment of mobile security teams plays a crucial role in maintaining safety. These mobile units can move quickly to address hotspots of trouble and work with stationary security teams to cover a broader area effectively. The integration of event security and mobile patrols creates a dynamic defence system that can adapt to changing situations, reducing the risk of violence and ensuring that fans have a secure environment to enjoy the games.

Encouraging Responsible Fan Behavior

While enhanced security is crucial, the role of fans in maintaining a respectful and safe environment is equally important. The community spirit that characterizes Edmonton and its hockey fans is essential for a secure playoff experience. Fans are encouraged to report any suspicious or disruptive behaviour and follow venue policies designed to protect all attendees.

Looking Ahead

As the Oilers continue their playoff journey, the excitement will undoubtedly increase. However, it’s vital for everyone — from fans to officials and players — to remember that the essence of the game is camaraderie and fair competition.

Let’s all support the Oilers and enjoy the playoffs in the true spirit of hockey. By collaborating, we can ensure that the memories we create are of spectacular games and shared celebrations, not of preventable incidents.

Chief McFee’s reminder resonates strongly: “We’ll find you. Don’t think you can hide.” Let’s not hide our team spirit or our commitment to respect and responsibility.


Tips To Protecting Your Business Post Playoff Game:

1. Insurance Check-Up

Ensure that your business insurance covers damages or losses due to civil disturbances. Contact your insurance provider to confirm your coverage details and consider adjusting them if necessary.

2. Prioritize Safety

Your safety and that of your staff are paramount. If you choose to stay on the premises:

  • Develop an emergency escape plan.
  • Designate a safe shelter within your store to avoid direct confrontation with rioters.

3. Secure Your Inventory and Valuables

Removing all valuable items from the store is more effective than confronting rioters. Consider these steps:

  • Remove inventory, computers, and other valuable materials from visibility before game days.
  • Deploy two or more security guards inside the store for added protection.
  • If possible, close your business before the game ends to avoid the peak riot risk time.

4. Lighting

Keep all interior and exterior lighting on. This can deter vandals who prefer to operate in the dark.

5. Window Displays

Clear all goods and props from window displays, including mannequins, which vandals might view as trophies.

6. Cash Registers

Leave all cash registers open or remove them entirely. Vandals often break into registers even when they suspect they might be empty.

7. Secure Payment and Data

  • Remove or securely hide credit card machines to prevent theft, damage, or data skimming by criminals.

8. Water Supply Management

Turn off the water supply to prevent vandals from causing water damage, but ensure this does not affect critical fire safety systems like sprinklers or hydrants.

9. Remove Potential Vandal Tools

Eliminate any items that could be used destructively, such as paint, flammable liquids, or tools like sledgehammers.

Conclusion Regarding Playoff Security

The Oilers’ playoff run is a moment for celebration, not conflict. With the increased security measures, including event and mobile security, and community cooperation, Edmonton can demonstrate how to host a sporting event where excitement is balanced with safety and respect.  Taking proactive steps to safeguard your business is crucial during high-stakes games like those in the NHL playoffs. By preparing in advance and employing these strategies, you can protect your assets and ensure the continuity of your operations, even in the face of potential civil disturbances.

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