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Officials Considering Future of SaskTel Centre

SaskTel Centre

SaskTel Centre officials continue to consider the future of the venue, which could either lead to a renovation plan or a new facility in downtown Saskatoon.

Saskatoon, SK has been mulling its options when it comes to the future of two major indoor venues–the SaskTel Centre and TD Place. A study on the issue is set to commence soon and eventually determine the best course, which, could include a framework for either building a new downtown venue or planning to upgrade the SaskTel Centre.

SaskTel Centre officials have already toured Rogers Place, the new downtown Edmonton home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, though no official decisions have been as to whether the Edmonton blueprint is one that will be emulated in Saskatoon.

More information on the possible options for Saskatoon are expected to be released later this year. Until a decision is made, those involved in the project will have a variety of options to consider, as Saskatoon StarPhoenix columnist Phil Tank explains:

Revitalization provides a compelling argument for a new downtown arena, but the main impetus to build a new facility in Edmonton came from a desire to keep the Oilers in town.

Saskatoon boasts no such arena tenant, although the Saskatchewan Rush lacrosse team regularly packs the joint — and exposes SaskTel Centre’s shortcomings.

If there’s a rich person willing to shell out money toward a Saskatoon arena, so far he or she is even more reclusive than Edmonton’s notoriously media-shy [Oilers owner Daryl] Katz.

SaskTel Centre, known as Saskatchewan Place in the days before corporate branding, only got built after two referendums. Saskatoon ended up with an arena in an awkward suburban location with little economic spinoff.

The big advantage SaskTel Centre boasts is its size, though not in the cramped concourses. It’s big enough to host NHL exhibition games, events like the world junior hockey championships and most major concerts. The big musical acts still come through Saskatoon because they can make enough money to justify staging a show in the antiquated facility.

The SaskTel Centre originally opened in 1988. It is home to the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades.

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