Saskatoon deserves its own NHL franchise

The Arizona Coyotes may be looking to relocate and the Saskatchewan city is a worthy contender.

The Arizona Coyotes may be on the move. Houston, Kansas City and Quebec City are a few of the cities in the running for the team’s potential relocation. However, there is one market worthy of a NHL team that is constantly overlooked: Saskatoon.

Following the forthcoming NHL season, the Arizona Coyotes will be without a home. The city of Glendale has chosen not to renew the team’s contract with the Gila River Arena, where they have played since 2003. While a new arena is reportedly being developed in the state, many are speculating that the team may move to an entirely new location.

Saskatoon and the Coyotes have a longstanding relationship. In 2009, Canadian company Ice Edge Holdings were bidding to buy the team. Part of their pitch included the franchise playing several home games in either Halifax or Saskatoon. While this deal did not work out, the SaskTel Centre has hosted a number of preseason matches.

Bruins, Jets facing off at Credit Union Centre - Saskatoon |
The Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets played in Saskatoon during the 2013 preseason.

With a capacity of 15,100, the SaskTel Centre is NHL-ready. The arena already has beautiful ties to one of the league’s all-time greats. The ashes of Saskatoon-born Gordie Howie are buried under a statue of him, in front of the venue.

Despite its few professional sports teams, the province of Saskatchewan grows fans who are loyal and proud. In Regina, the Saskatchewan Roughriders is the oldest community-owned franchise in North America. The 40,000-person capacity Mosaic Stadium is one of the biggest in the CFL. Two years ago, Saskatoon joined the Canadian Elite Basketball League, with the Saskatchewan Rattlers winning in their inaugural season.

The SaskTel Centre is host to the 2019 CEBL Championships, the Saskatchewan Rattles.

Seeing the return of the Winnipeg Jets felt like a Canadian Heritage Moment. One could only image the wonderful impact an NHL team could make on the city of Saskatoon.

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