Police address public safety after stabbing at Edmonton Oilers watch party

As the Edmonton Oilers get ready for Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the organization and police say there will be zero tolerance for bad behaviour after a violent incident during Saturday’s watch party downtown.

Two people were stabbed and taken to hospital following the Game 6 win Saturday night. Police intervened and fired at the suspect near the Ice District at Rogers Place. The suspect was taken to hospital and an Alberta police watchdog is investigating the police shooting.

“This is about the safety of the staff and the safety of the fans,” Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McPhee said during a news conference Monday morning.

“The reality is there are some unacceptable things that happened and that we need to nip that in the bud going forward.”

He said the fact that there has been some “unruly” behaviour makes the watch experience unsafe for others when the goal is to “celebrate the nature of sport, celebrate what’s going on in our city.”

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“If somebody is going to go out of their way to harm somebody, they’re going to be dealt with accordingly and rapidly, and they’re going to be held accountable,” McPhee said.

He said the EPS, the city and Oilers Entertainment Group are all working together to address allocation of resources going forward.

Images and videos have been circulating the internet of barricades being broken at watch parties and bitten fingers, and McPhee said there have also been injured staff.

“I don’t want people to think it’s a free-for-all down here, cause it’s not,” he said.

The police have open cases for isolated incidents but did not have specific numbers for violent incidents at previous watch parties.

Stuart Ballantyne with the OEG said the organization is working to best accommodate the fans and keep everyone safe.

“We have to adapt. We did not expect this body of people to be here – two hours even prior to opening our gates people are lined up around the blocks,” he said.

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