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|Former names||Saskatchewan Place (1988–2004)
Credit Union Centre (2004–2014)
|Location||3315 Thatcher Avenue
|Owner||City of Saskatoon|
|Record attendance||15,800 Garth Brooks World Tour, June 9, 2016|
|Broke ground||11 September 1986|
|Opened||9 February 1988|
|Construction cost||$24.8 million
($47.9 million in 2017 dollars)
$6.7 million (2009 expansion)
($7.45 million in 2017 dollars)
|Architect||Thomas Ferguson Architect, Ltd
PBK Architects, Inc.
|Structural engineer||Cochrane Lavalin Consulting Engineers|
|General contractor||Carlson Constructors, Ltd.|
|Saskatoon Blades (WHL) (1988–present)
Saskatchewan Rush (NLL) (2016–present)
Saskatchewan Storm (WBL) (1990–1992)
Saskatoon Slam (NBL) (1992–1993)
Saskatchewan Hawks (IBA/CBA) (1999–2001)
Saskatoon Accelerators (CMISL) (2007–2009)
Saskatoon Sirens (LFL Canada) (2012)
SaskTel Centre (formerly Credit Union Centre, and originally Saskatchewan Place; informally also known as Sask Place) is an arena located in the Agriplace Industrial Park, 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 World Junior Hockey Championships in 1990. More additional permanent seating was added in 2008 and 2009. The current capacity is now 15,190 for hockey. It is the home venue of the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League and the Saskatchewan Rush of the National Lacrosse League.
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 in the North Industrial area. 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 SaskTel Centre was initially, and still is, unpopular with some Saskatoon residents. Situated in the remote Agri Place industrial park at the north end of the city, accessible only via highways 11 and 16 and Marquis Drive, 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. At the time of construction, there were very few businesses and services located in the immediate area. As of 2016, the surrounding area has expanded, but the lack of fan amenities that most would find in other cities, such as nearby bars and restaurants, remains. A Motel 6 was the first hotel to be built near the arena, in 2004. A second hotel was constructed in the early 2010s.
Plans to build interchanges on the two major access routes into the facility were announced soon after the arena opened. However, these plans never developed, with the city and province instead opting to install a set of traffic lights at Marquis Drive and Highway 16 only 27 years after the arena's opening. Near-sighted planning on behalf of the city at the time of construction has led to traffic severely backing up after large-scale events in recent years.
In the early 2000s, Saunders Avenue, 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 near the old Saskatoon Arena. 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.
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.
On February 9, 1988, Saskatchewan Place was opened to host its first event; a Western Hockey League game won by the home team Saskatoon Blades 4–3 over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. Buffalo Sabres draft pick Grant Tkachuk scored the first ever goal on Saskatchewan Place ice, beating Brandon goalie George Maneluk at 12:35 of the first period.
The Saskatoon Blades have hosted the Memorial Cup twice at Sasktel Centre, first in 1989 (where they lost in the Final to the Swift Current Broncos), and again in 2013. As of 2016, they remain the Blades' only two appearances in the Memorial Cup.
On October 12, 1992, Canadian wrestling legend Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair to capture his first WWF Championship. Bret's father, legendary Hart family patriarch Stu, was born and raised in Saskatoon.
In 2005, the facility hosted a gala command performance concert for Queen Elizabeth in honour of Saskatchewan's centennial and in 2007 it was the venue for the 2007 Juno Awards. Both events were broadcast nationally.
On June 9–12, 2016, SaskTel Centre hosted six sold-out performances by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood as part of their World Tour. The series of concerts broke the ticket sales record for the province of Saskatchewan, with 94,655 tickets sold. The previous record of 80,127 tickets sold was held by The Rolling Stones when they played two sold-out shows at Mosaic Stadium in Regina in 2006.
- The current attendance record for Sasktel Centre is 15,875, which was set on June 9, 2016 for a concert by Garth Brooks.
- 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 largest crowd for a Saskatoon Blades game, was 12,588, set on February 9, 2013 in a game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
- The largest crowd for a Saskatchewan Rush game, was 15,192 set on May 21, 2016 in a game against the Calgary Roughnecks.
|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–|
|Saskatoon Sirens||LFL Canada||2012–|
|Saskatoon Slam||National Basketball League||1993–94||Folded during 1994 season|
|University of Saskatchewan Huskies||Canadian Interuniversity Sport||1995-||Held Chill Out Tournament at Saskatchewan Place (1995–97) and various regular season games.|
|Saskatchewan Rush||NLL||2015-||Won NLL Champion's Cup at SaskTel Centre June 4, 2016. (Second as the Edmonton/Saskatchewan Rush) First franchise in sports history to relocate after winning a championship in the previous city (Edmonton in 2015).|
Major tournaments and events hosted
- "Technical Information". Credit Union Centre. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- Kenney, John (11 September 1986). "Ground Breaking Ceremony for the New Arena in Saskatoon". The StarPhoenix. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada. "Consumer Price Index, historical summary". CANSIM, table (for fee) 326-0021 and Catalogue nos. 62-001-X, 62-010-X and 62-557-X. And Consumer Price Index, by province (monthly) (Canada) Last modified 2016-01-22. Retrieved March 2, 2016
- "SASKATOON CREDIT UNION CENTRE RECEIVES $3 MILLION" (Press release). Regina, Saskatchewan: Government of Saskatchewan. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Yanko, Dave (21 December 1985). "B.C. firm may get piece of arena action". The StarPhoenix. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. p. A1. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Menz, Kevin (31 July 2013). "Arena naming rights up for grabs". The StarPhoenix. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Credit Union Centre to be re-named SaskTel Centre". CBC News. 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
- "History". Credit Union Centre. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
- "About Us". Credit Union Centre. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
- "Renovations". Credit Union Centre. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
- Nickel, Rod (September 3, 2008). "CUC Adds 3,000 Seats Council Gives Preliminary Nod to Howe Bowl, Arena Expansion". The StarPhoenix. Saskatoon. pp. A1
- "Bidder has ice booked in Saskatoon". Faceoff.com. September 1, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- Francis, Eric (May 7, 2011). "NHL Exec Says Officials Won't Stand for Diving". Toronto Sun. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- , http://nll_stats.stats.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=2888351