|Location||3515 Thatcher Avenue|
|Broke ground||11 September 1986|
|Opened||February 9, 1988|
|Owner||City of Saskatoon|
|Former names||Saskatchewan Place (1988-2004), Credit Union Centre (2004-2014)|
|Tenants||Saskatoon Blades (WHL) (1988-present)|
|Capacity||Ice hockey 15,100|
SaskTel Centre, formerly known as Credit Union Centre (2004-14) Saskatchewan Place or SaskPlace (1988-2004), is an arena located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Situated near the city's northern entrance, the facility opened in February, 1988 with a seating capacity of around 7,800. It was expanded to 11,330 for the 1991 World Junior Championship. It currently can seat around 15,100 for hockey games and 15,800 for concerts, which is larger than some nhl arenas such as the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg. It is the home venue of the Saskatoon Blades hockey team.
It has free parking on site with parking space for 4,000 cars on its property. For most publicly attended events, transit service is offered from downtown. For high attendance events extra transit links are offered from shopping centres and other locations.
In September 2008, it was announced that 2,981 seats would be added to the open west-end of the stadium, bringing the total capacity to 14,311. As well, 1,000 temporary seats will be added for the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships.
Early proposals[edit | edit source]
SaskPlace was constructed as a replacement for the Saskatoon Arena, a concrete building constructed in Saskatoon's downtown core in the 1930s, and which was in use until 1988, hosting its final hockey game only a week before SaskPlace opened. Nicknamed "The Barn", the facility had outlived its usefulness some 20 years earlier and had become infamous for leaky roofs and substandard amenities, yet Saskatonians were hesitant to lose the landmark and a number of years passed between the 1970s proposal to replace the structure and the eventual demolition of the Arena and the opening of SaskPlace.
In 1982, Bill Hunter, a local sports promoter, attempted to purchase the St. Louis Blues NHL team and bring it to Saskatoon. Part of his plan included building an 18,000-seat arena. Two locations were suggested: the site of a decommissioned power plant downtown, just west of the then-present Saskatoon Arena, and another site east of the city's airport. Despite Hunter's best efforts, the NHL rejected his offer and Hunter's plans to relocate an NHL team and build a new arena collapsed.
The site eventually chosen for SaskPlace/Credit Union Centre was initially, and still is, unpopular with some Saskatoon residents. Situated in a remote industrial park at the north end of the city, accessible only via highways, SaskPlace was accused of being too inconvenient for seniors and people of limited transportation to access, as opposed to the original downtown arena site which was close to most bus routes. The city's original plan was to relocate Saskatoon's exhibition grounds alongside SaskPlace as well, but this proposal was defeated in a civic plebiscite following public protest over access and safety concerns. Plans to build interchanges on the two major access routes into the facility were announced soon after the arena opened, but (as of 2008) construction has yet to occur. However, in the past twenty years, the city has grown to the north, so that while at the time of its construction there wasn't anything around the arena, it is now surrounded by other buildings.
In the early 2000s, Saunders Avenue, which is a street leading into the parking lot of Credit Union Centre, was renamed Bill Hunter Avenue in honour of Bill Hunter, who died in 2002. This was considered ironic by many Saskatonians, given Hunter lobbied for the facility to be built in another location. The city then transferred the 'Saunders' name to a new street in the River Landing redevelopment area—running through the former site of the Saskatoon Arena.
Expansion[edit | edit source]
In 2008-2009, the arena was renovated for the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. There were 2,981 seats added to the upper deck at the west end of the arena increasing the capacity of the arena at more than 15,000. The cost of the expansion was pegged at C$6.7 million. C$2 million was requested as a loan from the city of Saskatoon and C$3 million from a provincial grant. Hockey Canada may have also contributed about C$500,000. The expansion also includes extra washrooms and concessions. The expansion also included the addition of 14 more corporate box seats, bringing the total to 44 and enlarged and improved player facilities such as dressing rooms, weight rooms, coach`s room, equipment room, player`s lounge and medical room.
At about this time, there was a proposal from Ice Edge Holdings to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes and begin playing five of the Coyotes' home games each season in SaskTel Centre (then named Credit Union Centre) beginning in December 2009. The logic behind the move, which parallels the Bills Toronto Series in the NFL, was that although Saskatoon was likely too small to support an NHL team of its own, it would easily be able to sell out the Credit Union Centre for one game each month. By May 2011, Ice Edge Holdings had abandoned its plan to purchase the team. Although some members of the Ice Edge group subsequently joined IceArizona, the group that ultimately was successful in purchasing the team, IceArizona did not pursue the earlier proposal to play any home games outside Arizona.
The SaskTel Centre hosted an NHL exhibition game in 2011 when the Edmonton Oilers hosted one of their games there. In 2012, the Winnipeg Jets were scheduled to play an exhibition game, but this was cancelled due to the NHL lockout. They made up for the missed date on September 27, 2013 vs the Boston Bruins. The Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames played on September 16, 2013.
Attendance Records[edit | edit source]
- The largest crowd for a hockey game at the arena, was 15,171, set on December 31, 2009 for a round robin game of the 2010 World Juniors between Canada and the United States. It was tied on January 5, 2010 for the final of the 2010 World Juniors between Canada and the United States.
- The current attendance record for Sasktel Centre is 15,875, which was set on June 9, 2016 for a concert by Garth Brooks.
Tenants[edit | edit source]
|Saskatchewan Storm||World Basketball League||1990–92||Folded during 1992 season.|
|Saskatchewan Hawks||International Basketball Association, Continental Basketball Association||1999–2001||Folded during the 2001 off-season|
|Saskatchewan SWAT||Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League||2007||Split its games between Credit Union Centre and Kinsmen Arena.|
|Saskatoon Accelerators||Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League||2007-09||Moved to Henk Ruys Soccer Centre for 2010 season.|
|Saskatoon Blades||Western Hockey League||1988-|
|University of Saskatchewan Huskies||Canadian Interuniversity Sport||1995-||Held Chill Out Tournament at Credit Union Centre 1995–97, University Cup from 1999–01 and various regular season games.|
Major Tournaments And Events Hosted[edit | edit source]
|CHL Memorial Cup||Hockey||1989/2013||Swift Current Broncos won the tournament in 1989. The 2013 Memorial Cup was won by the Halifax Mooseheads.|
|IIHF World Under-20 Championship||Hockey||1990–91; 2009–10||Canada won gold at the tournament in 1991.|
|Canada Cup||Hockey||1991||Was one of several host facilities for the tournament.|
|CIAU University Cup||Hockey||1998–2000||New Brunswick won the tournament in 1998 and Alberta won the tournament in 1999 and 2000.|
|Canada/Russia Super Series||Hockey||2007||Game 6 of the series held at Credit Union Centre.|
[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Nickel, Rod. "CUC Adds 3,000 Seats Council Gives Preliminary Nod to Howe Bowl, Arena Expansion", September 3, 2008, pp. A1.
- Bidder has ice booked in Saskatoon. Faceoff.com (September 1, 2009). Retrieved on January 11, 2013.
- Francis, Eric. "NHL Exec Says Officials Won’t Stand for Diving", May 7, 2011. Retrieved on January 11, 2013.
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at SaskTel Centre. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).|