With the Edmonton Eskimos playing for the Stanley Cup in both 1908 and 1910, the Thistle Rink was no longer a satisfactory showpiece for hockey in the city.
The Eskimos had earned a large following of fans, and even though each of the team's Stanley Cup challenges ended in defeat, the Eskimos had created enough of a buzz in the city that rumours of a professional league coming to Alberta were rampant in both the Journal and the Bulletin.
Plans were made for a new arena to be built on the city's fairground's site. Because this arena and livestock pavilion would be built away from downtown, it could offer significantly more seats than the Thistle.
On Christmas Day, 1913, exactly 19 years after the first-ever recorded game in Edmonton, the city finally had an indoor arena. The size of the new Edmonton Arena—later named the Edmonton Gardens—allowed for a rink that was significantly longer than the old surface at the Thistle Rink. The ice surface was 66 metres long—actually 6 metres longer than a current National Hockey League rink.
The opening was celebrated by an exhibition game between the two-time Stanley Cup finalists Eskimos and the Dominion Furriers team, better known as the Edmonton Dominions. Over 2,000 fans came to watch the game, despite it being a holiday. It was the largest gathering for hockey the city had ever seen. The Dominions triumphed 4-2.
That season, the Dominions won the Alberta Senior Amateur Championship with an 11-5 win over Medicine Hat. Led by forward and future Hockey Hall of Famer Russell "Barney" Stanley and goaltender Court May—at the time the best goalie the province had ever seen—the Dominions replaced the Eskimos as the talk of
Edmonton hockey fans, and that win in the first-ever game at the Arena acted as a ceremonial passing of the torch.
The Gardens would go on to host the Alberta senior champion Edmonton Flyers, Memorial Cups, the legendary Edmonton Oil Kings and the Edmonton Oilers in their early World Hockey Association years.
Dick Rice, a former Navy radio operator, would begin radio broadcasts from the Gardens in 1928.
After the opening of Northlands Coliseum in 1974, the Edmonton Gardens was an antiquated 5,200-seat facility that was no longer needed. Work demolishing the Gardens began January 20, 1982, but disproved the moniker "accident waiting to happen." "First they stuffed it with 50 kilograms of dynamite, then they used a bulldozer, but still the grand old lady of Edmonton sports wouldn't budge," one story reported. "Gardens won't go boom," the headline read, recounting two days of the crew drilling holes into the walls and supports, and then cramming in 320 sticks of dynamite. An Edmonton Journal article on February 25, 1982 read "Gardens 2 TNT 0. A second try at demolishing what's left of the Edmonton Gardens ended with a wham, a puff of dust and peals of laughter. The building stood in mock defiance amid hoots of glee from the gallery (of onlookers)." Northlands Park decided to finish the demolition with a wrecking ball. Another arena, Hall D of the Edmonton EXPO Centre, currently occupies the site.