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 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 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 Dixie Chicks, Lumineers, Dolly Parton and John Mayer concerts.
“We know for playoff hockey, the demographic skews towards 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 during 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.”
— with files from Shane Jones