SaskTel Centre was considered for Winnipeg Jets games, but team staying put

·2 min read
Experts say Saskatoon's SaskTel Centre is being eyed as a potential venue for Winnipeg Jets home games. (CBC - image credit)
Experts say Saskatoon's SaskTel Centre is being eyed as a potential venue for Winnipeg Jets home games. (CBC - image credit)

Questions about whether the Winnipeg Jets will start playing games at Saskatoon's SaskTel Centre were brewing, but the team has announced it won't be moving home games out of its home province after all.

SaskTel executive director Scott Ford told CBC News said the Jets had been considering the centre as a potential venue.

But after getting fan feedback, the team is staying put.

Team owner True North Sports + Entertainment sent fans a survey on Thursday afternoon, asking how they would feel about the NHL team moving home games to a region that doesn't have restrictions on fan attendance.

While Manitoba currently limits attendance at professional sports or concert events at either 50 per cent capacity or 250 people, whichever is less, Saskatchewan has no capacity restrictions.

Both provinces require proof of immunization to enter major arenas.

On Friday morning, the president and chief operating officer of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club and True North Sports + Entertainment told season ticket holders in an email that the team's home games will stay at Winnipeg's Canada Life Centre.

That means attendance will be capped at 250 fans until public health orders change.

That decision was based in part on feedback the owners got from the survey, which suggested 40 per cent of seat holders had negative feelings about relocating home games, while 30 per cent were neutral to the idea and the remaining 30 per cent were supportive if it helped the hockey club, the email from John Olfert said.

Despite the Jets not coming to Saskatoon, the 15,000 seat SaskTel Centre remains a busy venue. A number of events are scheduled for January, including numerous games for the WHL's Saskatoon Blades, the National Lacrosse League's Saskatchewan Rush and the WWE Supershow.

On Thursday night, the Harlem Globetrotters "Spread Game!" world tour was at the venue and was well-attended.

One Blades game scheduled for Friday has been postponed by the WHL due to COVID-19 concerns.

On Thursday, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab asked people in the province to limit their contact with people and to not have gatherings.

Last week, the NHL announced it was postponing eight games involving Canadian teams due to current attendance restrictions in certain provinces.

That included a Jan. 16 home game for the Winnipeg Jets. The team was set to square off against the Edmonton Oilers.

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