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Grapes believes Saskatoon will get an NHL team

Mar 5, 2012, 7:06 PM EDT

Don Cherry

Don Cherry thinks it’s only a matter of time until an NHL franchise is calling Saskatoon home.

“I really believe they’re going to get it. Quebec’s going to get one too, there’s no doubt about that,” Cherry told the prairie city’s News Talk 650 today.

“If you can get 16,000 people to squeeze in around in there in boxes and the whole deal, well Winnipeg is doing it so why couldn’t Saskatoon do it?”

Added Grapes: “You’ve got a beautiful building there…everything’s going for you, I’ll tell you that.”

For what’s it worth, I’m still skeptical. Saskatoon is considerably smaller than Winnipeg. And take it from someone who’s seen a game there, the Credit Union Centre may be “a beautiful building” in that it’s a great place to watch hockey, but it’s not even close to NHL caliber. Maybe it could be renovated to meet NHL standards, but it wouldn’t be cheap.


Saskatoon’s mayor says the group looking to land an NHL franchise is “exceedingly serious”

Report: Saskatoon interested in landing NHL franchise

  1. bcisleman - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Grapes says some things that are worth listening to but also others that are not. For example, last year he guaranteed that Ryan Murphy would be the #1 pick when no one else even had Murphy in the top 3 and most did not even have him in the top 5. He wound up being picked 12th.

    Grapes just likes to pump Canada’s tires. That’s OK, but in this case its hurtful. He is likely getting up the hopes of thousands of people in Saskatoon…hopes which are certain to be dashed. That’s just irresponsible.

    • taytay099 - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:50 PM

      He’s usually quite good at recognizing which prospects are worth keeping an eye on. Whenever he mentions a 15 or 16 year old I try to remember that name and sure enough they usually get drafted early and go on to be successful. Not always, but quite often.

      I don’t think he’s getting that many people in Saskatoon’s hopes up. No way thousands of people take him that seriously on this issue. If their hopes are up it’s not because of him, but the mayor of Saskatoon.

  2. jonirocit - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    That is without a doubt the cheesiest photo in the history of the world.

    • scottybcboy - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      lol, thanks for the photo, those of you in my yahoo fantasy leagues will get an eyeful all next year

  3. lolnowhy - Mar 5, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    old man’s officially gone senile

    • rupertslander - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      Just as senile as when he said Winnipeg would get a team back, and we know that never happened… oh, wait…

      • lolnowhy - Mar 7, 2012 at 4:13 PM

        if I really need to explain to you why a team in Saskatoon is an incredibly far stretch right now then frankly you are too dumb to understand the repercussions of relocation and expansion

  4. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    He is as ugly as his fashion style.

  5. AppealToReason - Mar 5, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    They’ll get it. It’ll just be 10-15 years at minimum

  6. drewzducks - Mar 5, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Can polyester cause brain damage?

  7. pavelfitzgerald - Mar 6, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Glad you’ve moved from mocking to skeptical. That’s reasonable.
    Cherry loves pumping anything Canadian tires. For this to happen a lot of things need to fall in place. The Winnipeg comparisons aren’t applicable. Wpg had shown success with an AHL team, had a NHL quality organization built, had a proposal for the upgrades that were neede to the MTS Centre, a considerably larger market, a billionaire owner, & years of work/presentations built in with the NHL. This was a process & not something that happened over night

    • crazemastercraze - Mar 6, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      plus the footprint left by the original jets. and i lived in winnipeg and can tell you that they were truly ready for an nhl team for years….. the building of the MTS center just solidified the deal. no one outside of Saskatchewan knows anything about the provence other than grain farming, dinosour bones and weirdly named towns. lets keep it real people: seattle, portland or vegas are your next NHL destinations, in that order. sorry canucks……

      • rupertslander - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        People know more than you bud… look I do think Quebec City has a better claim to a team than Saskatchewan, but Saskatoon’s building, while perhaps not NHL-caliber, is NHL-usable at least on a temporary basis unlike the decrepit barn in Seattle. Portland is not looking for a team and would never support both basketball and hockey. Vegas is a pipe dream. Kansas City on the other hand would be chosen over any other city… if only they had an owner.

        The question is not whether Saskatchewan would support a team, it is whether Bettman would believe it. But then again, all he has to do is ask them to show him the money.

  8. fishtacos4me - Mar 6, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    This nutcase, along with most other Canadians, cling to the belief that hockey is a relevant sport in their country. Canadian markets are limited as to which ones can maintain a team for the long term. Blame escalating salaries, Bettman’s screw job hes placed on the NHL, or the watering down of talent, but small market Canadian teams are not what the NHL wants anymore. There isn’t enough money, Bettman would rather place a team in Idaho, etc.

    Aside from Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, the NHL has given up on Canada.

  9. nhlsaskatchewan - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    The NHL in Saskatoon isn’t that far of a stretch. First off, hockey is religion in Saskatchewan. There is a hockey rink for almost every 10 miles of road. SK sends more players to the NHL (per capita) than any other place in the world. With 600-700k people living within 2 hours of Saskatoon, there are more than enough fans. Corporate sponsorship? SK is home to the biggest Uranium company in the world and the biggest Fertilizer company in the world, not to mention hundreds of other players in the mining industry, manufacturing and agriculture sector. BHP Biliton (the largest mining company on the planet) just moved their Canadian head office to Saskatoon. Saskatchewan is growing faster than any province in Canada ( a little too fast for my liking). Gretzky has said Saskatoon needs a team, and now Grapes. I agree that Grape’s is pumping our tires, but I’m glad he is. Saskatchewan people are far too modest to pump their own tires and have long had a defeatist attitude…”we’re too small, we don’t have enough money, we’re not good enough, I’m moving to Alberta, blah blah blah…” That mentality is starting to change, but slowly. From 1990-2007, capital investment in the SK hovered around 7 Billion. In 2007, it jumped to 11 B. Many thought it was a fluke. Then in 2009, jumped to 14 Billion, just a boom I guess. In 2011, jumped to 21 Billion, maybe not a fluke??? It’s true that the economic boom is over in SK, it is now the new normal. Every respected economist is saying this. It’s time to start believing!

  10. rupertslander - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    If Manitoba can afford the NHL again… population is only one of the relevant statistics. This ain’t 1983 anymore folks. Even NOT considering population differences, Saskatchewan’s economy is already over $10B or 20% larger than Manitoba’s and the gap is growing rapidly. GDP per capita is therefore an even bigger gap – as in something like $17K per person more than Manitoba and larger than 46 of 50 states. FWIW none of these exceptions (DE, AK, CT, WY) have a major league team. Most importantly, proportionally, a $17K per capita difference compared to Manitoba makes for a truly massive difference in terms of disposable income, i.e. the money money you have to spend on hockey tickets as opposed to groceries. Some economists reckon Saskatoon already has three times the amount of such disposable $$$ per capita as Winnipeg, which after multiplying for respective populations would make for a similar amount of disposable income overall.

    So… if Bettman has any doubts as to whether Saskatchewan can afford the NHL, all he has to do is ask them to show him the $$$. I don’t know if he will, but at least it sounds like he’s talking to the Saskatoon investors, which already places them way ahead of where Mr. Hunter got back in 1983.

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