Fresh off the heels of landing the UFC Fight Night 74 on Aug. 23, Saskatoon fans are apparently getting more good pro sports news next week with reports that the reigning National Lacrosse League champions, the Edmonton Rush, are officially moving to Saskatchewan!
The announcement confirming the move to SaskTel Centre is expected next Tuesday.
Clearly, the Rush can no longer make it work in a city more enamoured with the NHL Edmonton Oilers, and for that matter the winning WHL junior hockey Edmonton Oil Kings, both of which command all the attention during the winter when the NLL season is also on.
I know the Rush franchise has been struggling to get any sort of deal done with the city of Edmonton to keep them there at Rexall Place. You know what might have been the final straw? When the Oilers landed Connor McDavid.
Without him, the Rush still had some hope of competing for fans against the crummy Oilers product. Now, the Rush are clearly better off trying their luck in Saskatoon, where there aren’t as many distractions for the local sports fans.
But lacrosse is also a sport unfamiliar to a lot of people in Saskatchewan, where football and hockey reign supreme. Personally, I’ll be one of those people really plugging the product and urging the locals to buy tickets and support it. I saw for myself the NLL product in Toronto, and the kind of show the Toronto Rock put on. It’s lots of scoring and very fast-moving, basically ‘hockey with feet’.
Moreover, Saskatoon is getting a championship team right away, which is more than what you’ve been getting for 50-plus years from the crummy Saskatoon Blades.
In fact, this move is good news for Blades fans as well, because maybe this pro lacrosse competition will spur on the Blades’ organization to up their game and start winning, finally.
So people ought to be impressed. It’s a great time to be a Saskatchewan sports fan, as long as it’s not the ‘Riders you are talking about.