Your Guide to Summer Festivals & Events in Edmonton: 2015 Edition!

For the 2016 version, click here!

It looks like summer is here to stay, and that means it’s time for my listing of summer festivals & events, powered by ShareEdmonton. Below you’ll find dozens of events with a website, dates, and links to social media for each. You’ll also find a link to the event at ShareEdmonton and a link to an iCal for the event. I hope you find this listing as useful as I do.

What the Truck?! by @DaveFeltham


Here’s my list of 50+ festivals and events you can look forward to this summer in and around Edmonton!

Event Dates Links
NUOVA Opera & Music Theatre Festival May 22 – July 4 SE     
What the Truck?! May 23 & more! SE    
International Children’s Festival May 26-30 SE    
Edmonton International Cat Festival May 30 SE   
Oliver Community Festival May 30 SE  
eek! Comic & Pop Culture Fest May 30-31 SE   
Bikeology Festival (Bike Month) June 1-30 SE    
NextGen Month June 1-30 SE   
Creative Age Festival June 4-6 SE   
Mercer Summer Super Party June 5 SE 
Edmonton Craft Beer Festival June 5-6 SE    
Nextfest June 5-15 SE  
Edmonton Pride Festival June 5-14 SE   
Edmonton Pride Parade June 6 @ 11am SE   
Bonnie Fest June 6 SE   
Heart of the City Festival June 6-7 SE    
Sprouts New Play Festival for Kids June 6-7 SE 
Improvaganza June 17-27 SE   
Summer Solstice Festival June 18-21 SE    
Beaumont Blues & Roots Festival June 19-21 SE   
Porkapalooza BBQ Festival June 19-21 SE    
Edmonton International Jazz Festival June 19-28 SE   
The Works Art & Design Festival June 19 – July 1 SE  
Highlandia Festival June 20 SE   
Freewill Shakespeare Festival June 23 – July 19 SE    
Street Jam Festival June 25 SE  
Found Festival June 25-28 SE   
Kick It Up in Little Italy! June 27 SE   
Pets in the Park June 28 SE 
BaconFestYEG June 30 SE   
Canada Day July 1 SE 
Feats Festival of Dance July 1-12 SE    
Edmonton International Street Performers Festival July 3-12 SE   
Seven Music Festival July 4 SE   
Historic Festival & Doors Open Edmonton July 5-12 SE   
Taste of Edmonton July 16-25 SE    
K-Days July 17-26 SE     
K-Days Parade July 17 @ 10am SE     
Interstellar Rodeo July 24-26 SE   
Servus Heritage Festival August 1-3 SE   
Rock’n August August 4-8 SE  
Edmonton Folk Music Festival August 6-9 SE    
Animethon August 7-9 SE     
Cariwest August 7-9 SE   
Cariwest Parade August 8 @ 12pm SE   
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival August 13-23 SE    
Edmonton Rock Music Festival August 14-15 SE  
Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival August 14-16 SE  
Edmonton Latin Festival August 15-16 SE  
Edmonton Blues Festival August 21-23 SE 
Edmonton Airshow August 22-23 SE     
Symphony Under the Sky August 27-30 SE    
Symphony in the City September 4-5 SE    
SONiC BOOM September 5-6 SE    
Ignite Edmonton Festival September 9-10 SE   
Kaleido Family Arts Festival September 11-13 SE   

You can check out a calendar view of festivals here or you can download the iCal feed for your own apps.

FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015

Edmonton is always a great place for summer sports, but this year is special. Edmonton is one of the official host cities for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. We’ll host 11 matches this summer from June 6 through July 5, including the kickoff match between Canada and China. There’s a Team Canada Fan March taking place before the game too, from Borden Park to Commonwealth Stadium. In addition to the group matches, we’re hosting two Round of 16 matches, one quarter-final match, one semi-final match, and the third place match. You can see all of the matches on ShareEdmonton.

The City of Edmonton will be showing some of the games on a huge outdoor screen in Centennial Plaza (behind the Stanley Milner Library downtown). Ticket prices range from $20 to $115 and include bus, LRT, or park & ride service to and from the game. There are a few contests you can enter too. For example, Edmonton Tourism is giving away 60 tickets.

Happy Summer in Edmonton

There are of course many more events listed in the ShareEdmonton calendar, so check it out! Have I missed something that should be included? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it.

Happy summer!

Edmonton unveils Commonwealth Games 2022 bid committee and logo

Today we’re celebrating Canada’s 147th birthday, and the City took the opportunity to provide an update on its plans for Canada’s 155th birthday. Edmonton is hoping to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, and at City Hall today Mayor Don Iveson announced both the bid committee and logo.

Commonwealth Games Bid Update

The bid committee will be led by former Edmonton Airports President & CEO Reg Milley. He showed a lot of enthusiasm today and I think he’ll be a great leader for this effort. Joining him on the initial committee is Vice Chair Simon Farbrother (City Manager), Candice Stasynec (Executive Director, Edmonton Events), Maggie Davison (Vice President, Edmonton Tourism), Lloyd Benz (Government of Alberta), and four members from Commonwealth Games Canada – Dr. Andrew Pipe, Bruce Robertson, Linda Cuthbert and Edmonton’s John Stanton.

Commonwealth Games Bid Update

From the news release:

“Edmonton has built a strong reputation as an outstanding host city,” says Mayor Don Iveson. “Our bid effort, in partnership with the Alberta government, is focused on convincing Commonwealth Games voters that Edmonton is the best host city in 2022.”

Edmonton has until March 2, 2015 to submit its bid. After site visits in the spring, the host city will be selected on September 2, 2015. Only Durban, South Africa has announced a bid so far. The bid committee will be travelling to Glasgow later this month, to take in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Reg Milley talked a lot about the importance of community support today. Without it, Edmonton’s bid won’t be successful. The committee is soliciting stories from Edmontonians who have fond memories of the 1978 Commonwealth Games to strengthen the bid. They also started handing out stickers featuring the new logo to Edmontonians in and around City Hall.

Councillor Sohi

To learn more about the bid committee and Edmonton’s campaign, check out the new Edmonton 2022 bid website.

Edmonton celebrates the best of women’s soccer in 2014 and 2015

Have you heard about this little tournament taking place in Brazil over the next month known as the World Cup? Of course you have! It’s the global game and perhaps the largest spectacle on Earth and I don’t know about you, but I’m excited. Every four years we get the opportunity to participate in a truly global phenomenon. Go England Go!

Here in Edmonton, we have two other major international football (soccer) tournaments to look forward to. We’re a host city for both the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. These are the two most important tournaments in international women’s football, and we have front row seats.

The U-20 Women’s World Cup is taking place in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, and Moncton from August 5 through 24. Matches will be played at Commonwealth Stadium on August 5, 8, 13, and a quarter-final game on the 16th. Here are the matches you can look forward to:

Date/Time Match Teams
August 5, 2014 at 5pm Group Stage China vs. Brazil
August 5, 2014 at 8pm Group Stage Germany vs. USA
August 8, 2014 at 5pm Group Stage Germany vs. China
August 8, 2014 at 8pm Group Stage USA vs. Brazil
August 13, 2014 at 3pm Group Stage Paraguay vs. France
August 13, 2014 at 6pm Group Stage Nigeria vs. England
August 16, 2014 at 6pm Quarter-Final Group 1B vs. Group 2A

You can see the full calendar here. Tickets for the games range from $10 to $30, so it’s very affordable entertainment. You can purchase individual match tickets here. When Edmonton played host to the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2002, we set the record for the largest single match attendance at 47,400. Let’s beat it!

The Women’s World Cup takes place from June 6 through July 5 in Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Moncton. In addition to hosting the first four matches, Edmonton will also host two matches in the round of 16, one quarter-final, one semi-final, and the third place match. You can see the full calendar here. Tickets go on sale September 10, with prices for passes to all 11 matches ranging from $235 to $495.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

Friday, June 6 marked one year to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, and to celebrate, a countdown clock was unveiled at City Hall. These clocks are pretty popular in host cities, and it’ll remain at City Hall until next year so you’ve got lots of time to take your photo with it.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, MP for Edmonton-Spruce Grove, was selected as an official Event Ambassador for next year’s tournament. The theme for Canada’s winning bid was “Welcome the World and Its Game” and Minister Ambrose spoke quite a bit about the multicultural aspect of the game and of Canada.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

There are more than 30 million women’s footballers in 185 countries, and more than 350,000 registered women footballers here in Canada. The tournament in 2015 will feature 24 nations and 52 matches, an increase from previous years.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

Could the men’s World Cup be coming to Edmonton in the future too? Some suggest that Canada will bid to host the 2026 World Cup, and successful tournaments this year and next will greatly improve our chances of winning.

For now we turn our attention to the World Cup in Brazil. But once that’s all over, you can look forward to some excellent international football right here in Edmonton! You can keep up-to-date with all the news here.

Your Guide to Summer Festivals & Events in Edmonton: 2014 Edition!

For the 2016 edition, click here!

Here’s my listing of summer festivals & events for 2014, powered by ShareEdmonton. Below you’ll find dozens of events with a website, dates, and links to social media for each. You’ll also find a link to the event at ShareEdmonton and a link to an iCal for the event. I hope you find this listing as useful as I do.

Cariwest Parade 2011


Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get this post completed before all of these events started, so a few have already come and gone. I’ve left them in here though – this’ll be a handy starting point for next year!

Event Dates Links
Vocal Arts Festival May 10 – June 29 SE     
International Children’s Festival May 27-31 SE    
Dreamspeaker’s Film Festival May 28-31 SE   
eek! Comic & Pop Culture Fest May 31 – June 1 SE   
Bikeology Festival June 1-30 SE 
Creative Age FEST June 3-8 SE   
NextGen Month June 4-26 SE   
Nextfest June 5-15 SE  
Edmonton Craft Beer Festival June 6-7 SE    
Edmonton Pride Festival June 6-15 SE  
Edmonton Pride Parade June 7 @ 12pm SE  
Bonnie Fest June 7 SE   
Edmonton International Cat Festival June 7 SE   
Oliver Community Festival June 7 SE  
Heart of the City Festival June 7-8 SE    
What the Truck?! June 13 & more! SE    
Porkapalooza BBQ Festival June 13-15 SE 
Sprouts New Play Festival for Kids June 14-15 SE 
Improvaganza June 18-28 SE   
The Works Art & Design Festival June 19 – July 1 SE  
Summer Solstice Festival June 20-22 SE    
Edmonton International Jazz Festival June 20-29 SE   
Highlandia Festival June 21 SE   
Edmonton International Athletics Festival June 21, July 6, Sept. 12 SE   
Pets in the Park June 22 SE 
Found Festival June 26-29 SE   
Feats Festival of Dance June 28 – July 14 SE    
BaconFestYEG July 4 SE  
Edmonton International Street Performers Festival July 4-13 SE   
Historic Festival & Doors Open Edmonton July 6-13 SE   
Freewill Shakespeare Festival July 9-27 SE   
Taste of Edmonton July 17-26 SE    
K-Days July 18-27 SE    
K-Days Parade July 18 @ 10am SE    
Interstellar Rodeo July 25-27 SE   
Servus Heritage Festival August 2-4 SE   
Edmonton Folk Music Festival August 7-10 SE    
Edmonton Rock Music Festival August 8-9 SE  
Animethon August 8-10 SE     
Cariwest August 8-10 SE   
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival August 14-24 SE   
Edmonton Blues Festival August 15-17 SE 
Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival August 15-17 SE  
Edmonton Latin Festival August 16-17 SE  
Viva Italia Viva Edmonton August 24 SE  
SONiC BOOM August 29-31 SE    
Country Music Week September 4-7 SE   
E-Town Festival September 11-12 SE   
Kaleido Family Arts Festival September 12-14 SE   

You can check out a calendar view of festivals here or you can download the iCal feed for your own apps. There are some festivals that have happened in previous years that don’t seem to be happening this year (such as Rubaboo and Open Sky Music Festival) so I have left them out for now.


This year I wanted to highlight the many special sports events that are happening in Edmonton, in addition to Eskimos and FC Edmonton games. It’s an exciting time for track, basketball, and of course, soccer!

Event Dates Links
Edmonton Grads International Classic June 26-28 SE   
U15 & U17 National Basketball Championships July 25-30 SE   
FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada August 5-16 SE   
Edmonton Marathon August 23-24 SE   
World Triathlon Grand Final August 26 – September 1 SE   
Canada 55+ Games August 27-30 SE   
Tour of Alberta September 5-7 SE    

There are of course many more events listed in the ShareEdmonton calendar, so check it out! Have I missed something that should be included? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it.

Happy summer!

Edmonton announces bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games

On Monday, the City of Edmonton announced it will bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. Mayor Iveson had this to say about the news:

“Our city’s successful history as a great event host city started with the 1978 Commonwealth Games. Hosting the games in 2022 will demonstrate to the world how much Edmonton has evolved and reflect the Commonwealth Games Federation’s confidence in our city.”

As recently as a week ago, the Commonwealth Games Federation was concerned about a lack of interest in hosting future Games, potentially due to in-fighting and cost. No city had yet stepped forward, and cities that had previously expressed interest such as Singapore, Birmingham, and even London, all cancelled their plans. Then, at the last minute, Edmonton and Durban, South Africa, stepped forward.

Queen Elizabeth II 1978
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh attend the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton in 1978

When Edmonton hosted the Games in 1978, they were the biggest to date. Forty-six countries participated, sending 1,474 athletes to compete in 128 events across 10 sports. When the Games take place later this year in Glasgow, more than 70 countries are expected to participate, with more than 4,300 athletes competing in nearly 300 events across 17 sports.

Where did this come from?

The announcement seemed to come out of nowhere, but the possibility of Edmonton hosting the Games actually came up in February 2012, shortly after Commonwealth Games Canada decided to pursue another bid. Here’s what Mayor Mandel said at the time:

“I think 1978 (the last Edmonton Games) was a watershed moment for the city, and 2022, almost 45 years later, it would be a nice re-coming out party.”

“It’s a chance to showcase Edmonton. We have great facilities in the city, so I don’t think there would be a huge capital investment with these games other than some expansion. We would obviously have to do some upgrades.”

Big cities bid on major events to diversify their economies, attract tourists, build their reputations, and engage their citizens. Though many cling to a small-town mentality, Edmonton is a big city. Big cities bid on big events.

The 1978 Commonwealth Games were widely viewed as a coming out party for Edmonton, introducing us to the world stage. The City’s 2004 Annual Report reiterated this view:

“The Commonwealth Games [brought] unprecedented attention Edmonton, marking it as a city of international prestige and importance.”

It’s not like Edmonton has been standing still since 1978 either. We followed the Commonwealth Games up with the 1983 Universiade Games. We have hosted World Cup qualifying matches, World Figure Skating Championships, the 2005 World Masters Games, and much more. Perhaps biggest of all, we hosted the 2001 World Championships in Athletics.

The next few years will be especially busy. This year Edmonton is hosting seven games during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada, and next year we’re hosting eleven games during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada. Off the pitch, Edmonton is hosting the 2015 and 2016 Canadian Track and Field Championships, the latter of which will serve as the Canadian Olympic Track and Field Trials for athletes looking to compete in the Summer Olympics in Brazil. It’s going to be an exciting few years for sports in our city!

Would the federal government support the bid?

Edmonton’s bid to host EXPO 2017 was brought to a halt in 2010 after the Government of Canada withdrew its support, citing the unknown future costs of security. Mayor Mandel felt the real reason was a lack of support for our city, saying that “when it comes to Edmonton’s growth and ambition, our federal government simply isn’t interested.” He singled out MP Rona Ambrose for failing to build the necessary support in Ottawa for Edmonton’s bid.

Edmonton EXPO 2017 Launch

Do we need federal support for this bid? Financially, it seems unlikely a successful event could be staged without support from the Government of Canada, despite City Manager Simon Farbrother’s optimism that the City and Province could support it themselves. The reality is that hosting the Games is a $1 billion proposition, based on recent costs. Security concerns would also likely be a federal issue.

Would the federal government support this bid? Sport Canada guidelines outline that the federal government can only support two Canadian bids for major games in any decade. It is widely expected that Quebec City will bid to host the Winter Olympics, so Edmonton would be counting on being the second major event host.

Halifax was hoping to bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but they were forced to withdraw their bid over concerns with the budget. It was the first time Canada had withdrawn a bid for a Commonwealth Games event. Edmonton’s bid would need to be rock solid.

What does this mean for LRT?

One of the drivers behind Edmonton’s failed bid to host EXPO 2017 was infrastructure money expansion for LRT. Big events require big money, and it was hoped that part of staging a successful event would mean expanding the transit network. Many Edmontonians were quick to make the connection to LRT after Monday’s announcement too.

It’s true that Edmonton’s LRT first opened in 1978, just months before the Commonwealth Games. But that project is not what took the LRT from conception to reality, nor is it what funded the construction. From Ride of the Century:

“In truth, the visionary planning that laid the foundation for the LRT dated back to the decommissioning of the streetcars in 1951, but it took until the early 1960s for the rapid transit dream to take coherent shape in D.L. MacDonald’s Report on the Present Operating Conditions of the Edmonton Transit System With a View to Determining a Policy for The Future Operation of the System in 1961.”

When the LRT opened on April 22, 1978, at a cost of $64.9 million, it was 7.25 km long with five stations.


Edmonton hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games from August 3 to 12. Edmonton Transit had been planning transportation for the Games for two years, even assembling a fleet of 724 buses from Edmonton, Calgary, and Red Deer rolling stock to help meet demand. Their planning paid off.

“Edmonton Transit conveyed almost two million spectators to events over the nine days of the Games, and on August 8, the LRT system set a ridership record of over 69,000 people.”

“The Games were a shining moment for the city, and Edmonton Transit had played its part well passing the gargantuan test with flying colours.”

Just as we needed to continue building LRT with or without EXPO 2017, we need to move forward with LRT expansion whether we host the Games or not. I’d hate to see us tie LRT expansion money to the bid. LRT is our top infrastructure priority, and this event should have no bearing on that.

What does this mean for other infrastructure?

Events like the Commonwealth Games typically leave a physical legacy of facilities in the cities that host them. New sports and recreation facilities built for the Games could serve Edmontonians for years to come.

It is expected that Commonwealth Stadium would once again serve as the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies. It has received numerous upgrades in recent years, and could still receive more. Other facilities that were built for the 1978 Games, like Kinsmen, would likely receive upgrades and could be used. Foote Field was recently upgraded, and a new velodrome adjacent to Peter Hemingway pool has already been in the works. Edmonton had bid to host the 2015 World University Games, and had included a list of facilities as part of that bid that never moved forward. Those plans would likely be dusted off if this bid is successful.

Who is the competition?

In 1978, Edmonton’s competition was Leeds in England, a city with a population of about 200,000 more at the time. Our competition for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is Durban, a South African city of nearly 600,000 in a much larger metro area home to more than 3.4 million people. South Africa has never hosted the Games before, so that likely gives them an edge.

Apparently Durban had previously considered a bid for the 2020 or 2024 Summer Olympics, which suggests to me they are hungry to host another major international event and will be stiff competition. Durban hosted matches in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup and was of course one of the host cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Canada has hosted the Games four times: 1930 in Hamilton, 1954 in Vancouver, 1978 in Edmonton, and 1994 in Victoria. Edinburgh and Auckland are the only cities to have hosted the Games more than once.

Can Edmonton win? City Manager Simon Farbrother is certainly confident:

“We will, yes. We don’t go into these things to come second. Let’s put it that way.”

What’s next?

The cost of bidding had previously been estimated to range from $8 million to $10 million. Edmonton and Durban will work to finalize their bids by March 2015. After that, members of the Commonwealth Games Federation will meet a General Assembly in Auckland, New Zealand to choose a winner on September 2, 2015.

An Edmonton delegation will be travelling to Glasgow this year as official observers to learn best practices. The City has apparently talked with Glasgow officials about the bidding process too.

The City of Edmonton has said it will continue discussions with the Province and will be looking to engage other stakeholders throughout the country to win their support. Of course, Edmontonians will also be invited to get involved, so look forward to those opportunities in the near future.

The Edmonton Oilers look to gain an edge with analytics & hackathons

The Edmonton Oilers are mining for gold, and they want you to help them do it.

Last Thursday they launched the Oilers Hackathon 2.0, an analytics competition that hopes to harness the collective intelligence and passion of Oilers fans to surface valuable information that could ultimately help to improve the team.

The Oilers challenge for Oil Country in the newly launched Hackathon 2.0 is to conjure up the proper methodology to solve one of four questions the team’s analytics group has created. Naturally you’ll need the statistical information to back-up your formula and that’s why the Oilers are opening their information vault to anyone with an analytical mind and a love of hockey.

The hackathon is a great opportunity for math-geeks-slash-hockey-fans to engage with the team in a different way. But as Kevin Lowe told me when we discussed the competition, it’s also a recognition that having data is just part of the puzzle. “It’s all find and dandy to have the data, but it’s what you do with it that matters.” The Oilers no doubt have some ideas about what to do with it, but they know others do as well.

oilers hackathon

This idea of tapping into the “wisdom of the crowd” is hardly new, and one of my favorite stories on the topic comes from Don Tapscott’s book Wikinomics. In the first chapter, he tells the story of Goldcorp Inc. and the decision by its CEO Rob McEwan to tap into the expertise outside his organization. McEwan told his head geologist the idea: “I’d like to take all of our geology, all the data we have that goes back to 1948, and put it into a file and share it with the world. Then we’ll ask the world to tell us where we’re going to find the next six million ounces of gold.”

It was a gamble, but with the company struggling McEwan was determined to try something different. The “Goldcorp Challenge” was launched in March 2000 with $575,000 in prize money available. The contest was a big success, as Tapscott explained. “Not only did the contest yield copious quantities of gold, it catapulted his underperforming $100 million company into a $9 billion juggernaut while transforming a backward mining site in Northern Ontario into one of the most innovative and profitable properties in the industry,” he wrote.

The use of statistical analysis in sports is not new either, and thanks to Moneyball many people have at least heard about analytics being applied to baseball. Though he is most often associated with politics these days, New York Times writer Nate Silver actually got his start with baseball. “I have been a fan of baseball – and baseball statistics – for as long as I can remember,” he wrote in his book The Signal and the Noise. He started creating statistics for the game when he was just twelve, and while working at KPMG he created PECOTA, a forecasting system for baseball player performance. There are good reasons that baseball has been at the forefront of analytics, as Silver explains:

“Baseball offers perhaps the world’s richest data set: pretty much everything that has happened on a major-league playing field in the past 140 years has been dutifully and accurately recorded, and hundreds of players play in the big leads every year.”

While baseball is a team sport, it is unlike hockey or basketball or most other team sports in that it proceeds in a linear fashion. You could argue that a batter or pitcher in baseball is more responsible for his or her own performance than a forward is in hockey. It’s therefore a little easier to test empirically a hypothesis in baseball than it is in hockey.

Still, that hasn’t deterred NHL teams from delving into the world of analytics (though there have certainly been ups and downs over the years). David Staples, a guest of the Oilers Analytics Working Group (AWG), wrote about its creation back in March:

Some pro hockey bosses have little time for “Moneypuck,” the notion that NHL teams can use advanced statistics to gain an advantage. Others are more open to this cutting edge work. But there’s no doubt that interest in the field is exploding.

The Oilers formed the AWG a little over a year ago as a result of an advisory group on analytics coordinated by the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension. Members of the AWG include Kevin Lowe, Nick Wilson, and a number of other members of the Oilers operations team, Cult of Hockey blogger Bruce McCurdy, University of Alberta professors Corey Wentzell and Bruce Matichuk, AICML’s Randy Goebel, and Daniel Haight of Darkhorse Analytics. The group meets monthly, though someone is looking at the data almost every day. The Oilers have purchased reports and other sources of data in the past, but with the AWG, they’re considering data and analytics more aggressively. They see hackathons as a key way to extract value from all of the data.

The Hackathon 2.0 offers anyone who is interested the chance to delve into more than 1 GB of CSV data going all the way back to 1918. That’s 1 GB of pure text, roughly equivalent to 1000 thick books, and much more than was available during the first hackathon. For a data geek like myself, it’s pretty exciting. Hardcore hockey fans also seem to like the idea. “This is entirely fascinating. I cannot believe it’s really happening,” wrote Justin Bourne on theScore’s blog. Some have even started analyzing the data. Not everyone is as optimistic, however. Well-known Oilers blogger Tyler Dellow wrote, “while I applaud the effort, I’m not really sure that I think they’re going to get a whole lot that’s useful out of it.”

My sense after talking to Kevin Lowe and Nick Wilson about the hackathon is that they are realistic about the potential for data analytics. “It’s about knowing where to spend your time and resources,” Kevin said. “The findings are not earth shattering, but it’s a little bit of knowledge that you can hand over to the coach that at the right moment he can use, or so that he has more confidence in his decisions.” Nick agreed. “It’s a two or three percent contribution, like everything else.”

That said, there is some optimism that a fan will come up with something the Oilers just haven’t thought of, with some nugget of gold. “What’s unique about math applied to sports is the undiscovered, the lingering moneyball,” Nick said. “There’s incredible fans, incredible intelligence in this city,” Kevin agreed.

A total of 400 entrants had registered for the hackathon as of this morning. If you want to participate, you’d better move quickly – the deadline to register is tomorrow. After filling out the form, you’ll receive an email with a link to download the data. From there you’ll have until February 15 to submit your methodology for answering four challenges set forth by the Oilers AWG. You can see the full contest details here.

If you don’t get the opportunity to participate this time, don’t worry, the Oilers are keen to do additional hackathons in the future. “It’s not a one-off, and we definitely want to do more,” Nick told me. That’s probably a good strategy, given that new data is available all the time. As technology improves, you can imagine all sorts of new statistics being tracked. For example, cameras could help to track the number of strides a player takes per shift, or the number of times he pivots on the ice.

I’m planning to participate in the hackathon, though for me it’ll be more for fun than anything. I have already enlisted the help of my Dad who is a much bigger hockey fan than I am, based on some advice from Nate Silver: “Statistical inferences are much stronger when backed up by theory or at least some deeper thinking about their root causes.” In other words, it helps to know a thing or two about hockey!

Edmonton’s Hot to Huddle 2010 Grey Cup Festival Kick-off!

Tonight the 2010 Grey Cup Festival officially started here in Edmonton with a big kick-off party outside City Hall. Hundreds of people braved the cold to see the Grey Cup in person, to experience the flashmob and fireworks, and to get a first look at Huddle Town.

Purolator delivered the “special guest” that everyone was hoping to see.

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

There were fans of all teams on hand to celebrate!

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

With the Zipline in the background, everyone listened for the official kick-off of the festivities.

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

After the dignitaries had spoken, there was a big flashmob on the CN field (I suppose no one saw it coming, but the large group of people lined up on the field, with security preventing others from joining in, made it clear that something was up…not to mention the volunteer for the flashmob page on the website).

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

Fireworks quickly followed the entertaining dance number!

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

The trophy was so close you could almost touch it.

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

The end of the kick-off program meant the official opening of Huddle Town, the giant heated tent in Churchill Square.

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

Meanwhile, a Peewee football game was played on the CN field.

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

Here’s an overhead shot of City Hall and Huddle Town.

2010 Grey Cup Festival Kickoff

The festival is now officially underway!

You can see upcoming events at the official site (when it works) or at ShareEdmonton (and subscribe to the iCal here). You can see the rest of my photos from the evening here.

Ready, set, huddle!

Edmonton Capitals win for Homeward Trust volunteers!

Homeward Trust held its annual volunteer appreciation event tonight. Instead of the typical drinks-and-thank-you-speech outing, this year they decided to invite everyone to an Edmonton Capitals baseball game. Neither Sharon nor I had been to Telus Field since the team was still known as the Trappers, so we thought it would be a fun night. It was!

Edmonton Capitals

All of the Homeward Trust volunteers sat in section H, on the east side of the field. That meant we were in the sun for most of the game. After a few innings the heat got to us, so we decided to explore. We met Razzle:

Edmonton Capitals

And we discovered the specialty hotdogs at Telus Field. Sharon couldn’t resist the Perogy Dog with fried potatoes, bacon, onions, sour cream, and cheese:

Edmonton Capitals

We ventured back to our seats for the 5th inning and stayed for the rest of the game (thankfully it got much cooler once the sun disappeared behind the buildings). The Capitals won their ninth straight over the Tijuana Cimarrones, 14-5.

Edmonton Capitals

Baseball isn’t really my thing, but I enjoyed tonight. If you’d like to check out a Capitals game, tickets are just $10. Tomorrow night the Oilers top prospects will be in attendance, including Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Thanks Homeward Trust!

You can see more photos here.

Canada Celebrates in Edmonton

Last night was the Canada Celebrates event at Commonwealth Stadium here in Edmonton. Or at least that’s what the ticket said. There wasn’t much promotion in advance, but what few things I did see tended to call it “For the Love of Country and For the Love of Hockey”. Whatever it was called, the nationally televised event was an opportunity to pay tribute to our Olympic heroes, as well as our heroes in the Canadian Forces. It also raised funds for the Hockey Canada Foundation.

There were maybe 10,000 people in attendance, nowhere close to the number of people that Commonwealth Stadium can accommodate. I have to agree with Terry Jones – promotion of the event could have been much better. The Mayor proclaimed the day Canada’s Heroes Day last Tuesday, but I’d bet that most Edmontonians still hadn’t heard of the event by the time it got started. It probably looked worse than it was though, because almost everyone in the stands made their way to the field once invited to do so. I’m sure that made the empty seats even more noticeable on TV.

Canada Celebrates was a great opportunity for those who did attend and for everyone who watched across the country to reflect back on Canada’s golden Winter Olympics and to salute the military. There were lots of little kids on the field, and they seemed to be having a great time! The flyover was pretty exciting too.

The event was by no means a failure, but it probably didn’t go as well as the organizers had hoped it would. My guess is that they didn’t have a lot of time to pull it together, but did so anyway. Kudos to them for seizing the opportunity to showcase the City of Champions. It’s just too bad we didn’t have time to fill the stands a little more.

You can see the rest of my photos here. You can see the Edmonton Journal’s photo gallery here (story is here).

Edmonton Tweets during the Men’s Gold Medal Hockey Game

I’m sure you’ve seen by now the chart that EPCOR released showing water consumption in Edmonton during the men’s gold medal hockey game on February 28th. It’s pretty amazing how closely the data matches the end of the periods! I’m sure the game had an impact on many other parts of our lives as well. For instance, tweeting!

Here’s how much Edmontonians were tweeting during the game:

I’ve also stuck February 21 and March 7 in there, so you can see the difference from normal. We posted 27 tweets per minute from noon until 6pm on game day. That’s about three times more than normal!

Here’s what we were tweeting about:

No surprise there! I’ll have more Twitter stats up soon.