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Credit Union Centre
CreditUnionCentrelogo.png
Former names Saskatchewan Place
Location 3515 Thatcher Avenue
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
S7R 1C4
Opened February 9, 1988
Owner City of Saskatoon
Capacity Ice hockey 14,705
Concerts 15,000
Tenants
Saskatoon Blades (WHL) (1988-present)

Credit Union Centre, formerly known as Saskatchewan Place or SaskPlace, is an arena located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Situated near the city's northern entrance, the facility opened in February, 1988 with a seating capacity of around 7,800. It was expanded to 11,330 for the World Junior Hockey Championships in 1991. It currently can seat around 15,000 for hockey games and 13,000 for concerts.[1] It is the home venue of the Saskatoon Blades hockey team.

It has free parking on site with parking space for 4,000 cars on its property. For most publicly attended events, transit service is offered from downtown. For high attendance events extra transit links are offered from shopping centres and other locations.

The Credit Union Centre has hosted performances by many leading acts and has been the site of numerous national and international events. In 2005, it was the site of the main concert celebrating Saskatchewan's 100th anniversary as a province of Canada. The performance was attended by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada and the Duke of Edinburgh.

In September 2008, it was announced that 2,981 seats would be added to the open west-end of the stadium, bringing the total capacity to 14,311. As well, 1,000 temporary seats will be added for the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships.[1]

Contents

Early proposals

Credit Union Centre exterior

SaskPlace was constructed as a replacement for the Saskatoon Arena, a concrete building constructed in Saskatoon's downtown core in the 1930s, and which was in use until 1988, hosting its final hockey game only a week before SaskPlace opened. Nicknamed "The Barn", the facility had outlived its usefulness some 20 years earlier and had become infamous for leaky roofs and substandard amenities, yet Saskatonians were hesitant to lose the landmark and a number of years passed between the 1970s proposal to replace the structure and the eventual demolition of the Arena and the opening of SaskPlace.

In 1982, Bill Hunter, a local sports promoter, attempted to purchase the St. Louis Blues NHL team and bring it to Saskatoon. Part of his plan included building an 18,000-seat arena. Two locations were suggested: the site of a decommissioned power plant downtown, just west of the then-present Saskatoon Arena, and another site east of the city's airport. Despite Hunter's best efforts, the NHL rejected his offer and Hunter's plans to relocate an NHL team and build a new arena collapsed.

The site eventually chosen for SaskPlace/Credit Union Centre was initially, and still is, unpopular with some Saskatoon residents. Situated in a remote industrial park at the north end of the city, accessible only via highways, SaskPlace was accused of being too inconvenient for seniors and people of limited transportation to access, as opposed to the original downtown arena site which was close to most bus routes. The city's original plan was to relocate Saskatoon's exhibition grounds alongside SaskPlace as well, but this proposal was defeated in a civic plebiscite following public protest over access and safety concerns. Plans to build interchanges on the two major access routes into the facility were announced soon after the arena opened, but as of 2008 construction has yet to occur. However, in the past twenty years, the city has grown to the north, so that while at the time of its construction there wasn't anything around the arena, it is now surrounded by other buildings.

In the early 2000s, Saunders Avenue, which is a street leading into the parking lot of Credit Union Centre, was renamed Bill Hunter Avenue in honour of Bill Hunter, who died in 2002. This was considered ironic by many Saskatonians, given Hunter lobbied for the facility to be built in another location. The city then transferred the 'Saunders' name to a new street in the River Landing redevelopment area—running through the former site of the Saskatoon Arena.

Credit Union Centre should not be confused with Union Centre, a building located on the west side of the city. Union Centre opened in the mid-1970s and housed offices and meeting facilities (which were rented out for community events) of various Saskatoon-based trade unions. In the late 1990s it was sold and converted to other uses (it is no longer referred to as Union Centre). The building is located near the intersection or Fairlight and Fairmont Drives.

Expansion

There are 2,981 seats being added to the upper deck at the west end of the arena. The capacity of the arena will place maximum attendance at more than 15,000. The 2010 World Junior hockey championships will be held here, as well as numerous concerts. The cost of the expansion is pegged at C$6.7 M. C$2 M will be requested in a loan from the city of Saskatoon and C$3 M is to be finalized from a provincial grant. Hockey Canada may also contribute about C$500,000. The expansion will also include extra washrooms and concessions.[1]

Major Events

Major concerts and shows hosted at Credit Union Centre over the past few years include Kiss, Celine Dion, Mötley Crüe, Elton John, Metallica, Shania Twain, Tool, Nickelback, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Velvet Revolver, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Crüe Fest, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Talent, Rod Stewart, AC/DC, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sting/Annie Lennox, Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Hilary Duff, Beyonce, Rascal Flatts, John Mellencamp, Edgefest, Cirque du Soleil, Van Halen, Keith Urban, Blue Man Group, Eagles , and Fleetwood Mac

On October 12, 1992, Canadian wrestling legend Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair to capture his first WWF Championship.

In 1995, Billy Graham made a surprise appearance at a Franklin Graham festival at SaskPlace, and brought George Beverly Shea with him.

In 2005 the facility hosted a gala command performance concert for Queen Elizabeth in honor of Saskatchewan's centennial, and in 2007 it was the venue for the 2007 Juno Awards. Both events were broadcast nationally.

In 2008, Credit Union Centre played host to acts such as Foo Fighters, Kelly Clarkson/Reba McEntire, Kanye West, Vans Warped Tour, Martina McBride, Crue Fest, 3 Doors Down, Brooks & Dunn, Judas Priest, Elton John, Nine Inch Nails, and the Walking with Dinosaurs tour.

In 2009 KISS will play the venue on Nov. 10th on the Sonic Boom Tour!

In 2010 Guns N' Roses will play the venue on Jan. 19th as part of their Chinese Democracy World Tour.

Attendance Records

  • The largest crowd for a concert at the arena, was 14,605, set on August 14, 1996 for a Garth Brooks tour stop.

Tenants

Team League Years Notes
Saskatchewan Storm World Basketball League 1990–92 Folded during 1992 season.
Saskatchewan Hawks International Basketball Association, Continental Basketball Association 1999–2001 Folded during the 2001 off-season
Saskatchewan SWAT Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League 2007 Split its games between Credit Union Centre and Kinsmen Arena.
Saskatoon Accelerators Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League 2007-09 Moved to Henk Ruys Soccer Centre for 2010 season.
Saskatoon Blades Western Hockey League 1988-
Saskatoon Slam National Basketball League 1993–94 Folded during 1994 season
University of Saskatchewan Huskies Canadian Interuniversity Sport 1995- Held Chill Out Tournament at Credit Union Centre 1995–97, University Cup from 1999–01 and various regular season games.

Major Tournaments And Events Hosted

Tournament/Event Sport/Event Year(s) Notes
Labatt/Nokia Brier Men's Curling 1989; 2000; 2004 Alberta won the tournament in 1989, British Columbia won the tournament in 2000 and Nova Scotia won the tournament in 2004.
CHL Memorial Cup Hockey 1989 Swift Current Broncos won the tournament.
IIHF World Under-20 Championship Hockey 1990–91; 2009–10 Canada won gold at the tournament in 1991 and the United States won gold in 2010.
Scott Tournament Of Hearts Women's Curling 1991 British Columbia won the tournament.
Canada Cup Hockey 1991 Was one of several host facilities for the tournament.
CIAU University Cup Hockey 1998–2000 New Brunswick won the tournament in 1998 and Alberta won the tournament in 1999 and 2000.
FIVB Women's Junior Volleyball World Championship Women's Volleyball 1999 Russia won the tournament.
Juno Awards Canadian Music Award Show 2007
Canada/Russia Super Series Hockey 2007 Game 6 of the series held at Credit Union Centre.
Masters of Curling - Capital One Grand Slam of Curling Men's Curling 2008 Glenn Howard's rink won the tournament.
Warped Tour Music festival 2008

Credit Union Centre Hockey League

The Credit Union Centre Hockey League (CUCHL) is a rec-hockey league owned and operated by Credit Union Centre. The league features 26 teams in three divisions. Each team is expected to play 32 games in the 2008-09 season. The league uses ice sheets at Credit Union Centre and Harold Latrace Arena in Saskatoon. The league is formerly known as the Saskatoon Sportsplex Hockey League.

External links

References

Coordinates: 52°11′20″N 106°40′44″W / 52.189°N 106.679°W / 52.189; -106.679

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