Oil Kings

Edmonton Oil Kings

Arena Name: Jasper Place Arena
Capacity: 1900 (1700 seated)
Built: 1963
Address: 9200 163 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5R 0A7
Ice Surface Size: 190' X 85'
Last Game: 1967?


 Jasper Place Arena

Jasper Place Arena

 What's the Arena Like?

A couple of years back, I was reading a news article where an alumnus of the old Edmonton Oil Kings, the team that existed up to 1978, mentioned playing playoff games at Jasper Place in the 1970's. I did some research and discovered that Jasper Place was actually the Oil Kings' permanent home between 1965 and 1967, which, for those of you keeping score, includes the last season they played in the AJHL and the first season of the WHL's existence, though this was only caused by the massive renovations at Edmonton Gardens which closed the rink for two seasons to bring it up to fire code.

I've also heard that much like in other junior hockey cities, the Oil Kings of the 1970's had a great deal of difficulty competing with a professional team nearby, in this case the WHA's Oilers at the new Northlands Coliseum, and so they played odd games here and there at a smaller arena when Northlands was either booked, or they weren't expecting to draw enough fans to make it worth it. I can't back that up with a source, but it wouldn't be surprising if it were true.

Further research established that "Jasper Place" is now known by the name Bill Hunter Arena. It's a mid-century modern building in a residential neighbourhood in West Edmonton, not far from the eponymous mall. I found a squat, yellow-brick building with a jagged roof and a new, silver-clad atrium on the front of it.

Inside, the rink isn't much. It's a single ice pad with about seven rows of bench seating stretching from goal line to goal line. It reminded me of other similar buildings like St Michael's College Arena in Toronto or the Marcel Bedard Arena in Beauport, Quebec. There are no signs of high-level hockey in the building - no banners, no memorabilia, no centre scoreboard, nothing to indicate it was ever used as anything more than the community rink that it is.

Bill Hunter was instrumental in the founding of the WHL, and it was his Oil Kings that led the charge to break away from provincial junior hockey leagues. In those early years, when the rebel league project wasn't assured of success, it makes sense that the Oil Kings would play at a new, AJHL-quality arena instead of the much larger Edmonton Gardens. It's also a nice touch that Jasper Place was named in Bill Hunter's honour after the man's death in 2002.

 Inside Jasper Place Arena

Jasper Place Arena

 What's It Used for Today?
Bill Hunter Arena is still used by the community and has no major tenants.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at Email and I'll update the guide.

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Last Revised: October 31, 2021