From football and hockey to basketball, curling and lacrosse, Saskatchewan is home to a wide variety of professional-level sporting events to take in and be part of. Each of these sports leagues offers up high calibre talent to watch as well as some of the top in-game entertainment in the province.
Here are the best game-day experiences to check out if you’re a sports fan.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL football team have woven their way into the fabric of what it means to be from Saskatchewan – from displaying vanity license plates and wearing carved watermelon rinds on our heads to being able to purchase Roughrider souvenirs at grocery and convenience stores. It’s an infectious, unifying sport in the province.
Collectively, we congregate (decked out in our Rider-green paraphernalia) at in-person games at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, in sports bars around the province, or in our friends’ living rooms in a show of loyalty and passion to cheer on the Riders. No matter where and how we tune in – and win or lose – we bleed green because we’re all part of Rider Nation.
Attending a Saskatchewan Rush game is about the experience. There’s an electric vibe to SaskTel Centre as upbeat blasts of music pump through the stands while the game-day hosts get 15,000 passionate fans revved up.
Professional lacrosse is relatively new to the province (beginning in 2016) but Saskatchewanians have embraced it enthusiastically – especially after a goal when fans jump to their feet and repeatedly thump their chests Matthew McConaughey style in “The Wolf of Wall Street” to the beat of “The Hum.” It’s common to see super fan Rush Hulk run through the crowd doling out high fives while The Crush cheer team performs for the audience. The games are full of fast-paced action on the field and it’s easy to get swept up in the energy and fanfare of it all.
It’s no surprise curling is the official provincial sport of Saskatchewan. Considering many small towns and communities have curling rinks where locals gather for bonspiels on weekends, it’s a game many have grown up with. Curling clubs and leagues are part of our heritage. It’s also a timeless sport with kids, adults and grandparents able to participate and enjoy time together.
From Moose Jaw to Regina and Saskatoon, several cities around the province have played host to both the men’s and women’s national curling championships over the years. Not only has Saskatchewan been a proud host for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Tim Hortons Brier, Saskatoon hosted the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in 2021.
Canada has an obsession with ice hockey and the same can be said in Saskatchewan. From shinny on outdoor rinks to the community rink – playing and watching hockey is a national pastime.
Saskatchewan’s impact on the game can be seen in the number and calibre of professional-level hockey players we have produced. Over the years, thousands of players have represented the province in the junior, western and national hockey leagues.
While Saskatchewan doesn’t have a professional hockey team, we have 11 SJHL teams and five WHL teams. This means fans have the opportunity to cheer for their local team or league – from the Pats and Blades to the North Stars or Terriers. One thing is for certain – we know how to play hockey in Saskatchewan and there are plenty of games to attend and be part of Canada’s iconic hockey culture.
Professional basketball is the newest national sport to hit the court here in Saskatchewan. As one of 10 teams part of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), Saskatoon’s Saskatchewan Rattler’s inaugural season was in 2018. In 2019, they were crowned national champions.
As the league continues to grow and build momentum, the Rattlers have found an enthusiastic audience excited to watch them in action and back them from the courtside. Gameday experiences in the Snake Pit at SaskTel Centre incorporate in-arena entertainment including the antics of their rattlesnake mascot Ssswish and the Venom Dance Pack. The Rattlers also proudly support community basketball programs and are always up for autograph sessions.
Saskatchewanian’s passion and support for its sports teams and players truly unites the province – whether it’s on the court, on the field or on the ice. A reminder you can use the Mysask411 city pages to find professional sporting events near you!
-Ashlyn George is an award-winning travel writer, photographer and content creator behind The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World.
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