EDMONTON -- Fences are being put up around Ice District and Rogers Place to create the so-called bubble as NHL teams begin to arrive in Edmonton this week.

Ice District has confirmed the fences seen on 103 Avenue and 102 Street were installed to comply with NHL and Alberta Health orders "to create a bubble for players and staff during the 2020 playoffs."

In addition, the City Centre east parkade is closed until further notice, Ice District said, but the north and west parkade entrances remain accessible from 103 Avenue westbound.

There is still pedestrian access at Plaza Way and 102 Street between the JW Marriott and Stantec.

It's unclear what other roads and areas will be closed as a result of the NHL bubble.

Players and personnel from the 12 western teams are scheduled to arrive in Edmonton by Sunday before games start Aug. 1.

They will stay in the bubble for the duration of the playoffs and be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis. On Monday, the NHL said two players tested positive for the virus during the first week of training camp.

The league is talking to local restaurants to cater meals for those within the bubble and coordinating with golf courses to open to players and personnel only on certain days.

On Thursday, Rogers Place was damaged during a thunderstorm but Oilers Entertainment Group said the facility would be ready in time for the playoffs.


Despite the excitement to have hockey back and host 12 NHL teams, the bubble is already proving to be inconvenient some for some in downtown Edmonton.

Commuters, including those who ride their bikes to work, say they are having to take long detours or ride on the sidewalk to get around the fences.

For Mike Sacha, it means a longer bike ride to go grocery shopping.

Max Amerongen says he doesn't want to commute to work on Jasper Avenue or 104 Avenue for safety reasons, so he's being forced to ride on the sidewalk.

"I suddenly came to a line of barricades and fencing with no warning at all," Amerongen told CTV News Edmonton. "It's kinda cool that we've got that, but I got to get to work too."

A swing gate was installed on 102 Street near the JW Marriott entrance so pedestrians can pass through Ice District, but Amerongen says didn't see it. He plans on using it next time.

In a statement to CTV News, the City of Edmonton said it recognizes the NHL's presence will impact some Edmontonians, but that it also supports the bubble.

OEG added: "We are endeavoring to minimize impacts on Edmontonians, but with an event of this scale and scope, there are bound to be some impacts."

Residents of The Legends, located above the JW Marriott where the players will be staying, have mixed opinions on the bubble.

They have a separate entrance to the building and their own elevator, but they won't be allowed to use amenities such as the gym and pool, which they won't have to pay for during the playoffs.

"It’s a little frustrating to be honest," Jamie Shtay said. "I would've preferred it being in a different city.

Another resident said he doesn't mind being around the bubble because hockey is coming back.

With files from Dan Grummett