Now that it has been made official that Saskatchewan has been approached by an anonymous group interested in bringing an NHL team to Saskatoon, is it a real possibility?
After TSN’s Bob McKenzie wrote his column on the possibility of the NHL finding a home in Saskatoon, the internet has exploded in a large debate. Fans are tweeting their arguments on both sides. The debates range from whether or not Saskatchewan can really build a large enough space to hold games to if the province has enough fans to fill that many seats.
Although Saskatchewan premier, Brad Wall, did say that the NHL coming here was “very hypothetical” and “pretty speculative”, he did also claim that “ if Winnipeg can do it, I like our chances.” So which is it Mr. Wall?
Many have also argued and joked about how small Saskatoon is, and how it would never be able to handle such a major franchise.
Are we really only a football province, or can we be both?
Arguments from Don Cherry have also hit the media by storm. With him supporting the NHL to Saskatchewan movement.
“They are hockey people,” Cherry said. “They will sell out in 15 minutes, I’m telling you right now. I guarantee they’d be a success. Get them in.”
If you take the Saskatchewan Roughriders as an example, it can also prove that this whole province will get behind one city’s team. People will drive from one side to the other, just to show their support.
“You take in 80 miles, there’s 400,000 people, right? And you know how they are out west …80 miles means nothing,” said Cherry.
Of course with all of the positives, come the realistic negatives. The cost of such a purchase is beyond what tax payers want to hear. It will cost the buyers approximately 170 million dollars just to buy and move any of the existing teams. Add that to the costs of making the Credit Union Centre NHL ready, and we are looking at serious debt.
A Conference Board of Canada report released last year also suggested that an NHL team in the city would not survive because the market is not big enough, even with a whole province behind it.
Cities such as Hamilton and Quebec City will automatically be placed higher up in the running for a team, because they could sustain a team based on their single city alone, without the entire province showing up.