Basketball fans eager for tickets to go on sale Wednesday for WNBA game in Edmonton

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Every time Natalie Vermaas walks into Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena to watch the WNBA’s Storm play, building and team staff call her “Canada.”

She expects that will change if she can get tickets to see WNBA Canada Game, a pre-season exhibition between Seattle and the Los Angeles Sparks at Edmonton’s Rogers Place on May 5, when they go on sale Wednesday. Vermaas said she’s willing to sacrifice her beloved nickname if she can watch her favourite professional sports team play in Canada with thousands of her fellow citizens.

“I feel like to watch that game with fellow Canadians would be so cool,” said Vermaas. “Especially since (Canadian guard) Kia Nurse, she just got traded to L.A. but she was on Seattle, so now she’ll be playing in Edmonton.

“So how cool would it be to watch Kia Nurse on Canadian soil with Canadians?”

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WNBA superfan Natalie Vermaas of Vancouver is shown in a handout photo. Tickets go on sale tomorrow for a WNBA pre-season game to be held at Edmonton’s Rogers Place. Vermaas says she’s already looking into flights and accommodation to go to Edmonton for the pre-season game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Natalie Vermaas **MANDATORY CREDIT** Natalie Vermaas

Vermaas, a Vancouver-based school teacher, calls herself a WNBA superfan. She has Storm season tickets and makes the trip down to Seattle nearly 20 times per year to watch her favourite team play. Although Vermaas is a fan of many sports, she believes nothing compares to the atmosphere of a WNBA arena.

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“The energy is wild. The energy and excitement from the moment you walk into the arena,” said Vermaas, noting that sometimes Vancouver sports fans can be fickle. “But when you walk into a WNBA arena, like I walk into Seattle, it feels like everybody is thrilled to be there, everybody’s there for the same purpose.

“They want to watch elite competition. They want to watch the best of the best play and they’re really truly rooting for your team.”

Vermaas missed out on Canada’s first WNBA game, when a sold-out crowd of 19,800 watched the Chicago Sky defeat the Minnesota Lynx 82-74 on May 13 at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. That was due to a personal scheduling conflict, so she’s clearing her calendar and hoping she can beat the rush to grab a ticket for the game in Edmonton.

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“I’ve been looking up flights to see if I can leave Friday after teaching and come back Sunday or first thing Monday morning,” she said. “Edmonton is a quick flight so we’re just trying to figure out flight and hotel costs and waiting for tickets to go on sale for ticket costs but the goal would be to be there.”

According to multiple media reports on March 5, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum is in pursuit of a WNBA team in Toronto for the 2026 season through his holding company Kilmer Group.

Kilmer Sports Venture appointed longtime European soccer executive Ivan Gazidis to lead the new organization. Gazidis has served as CEO for both AC Milan and Arsenal and was one of the founders of Major League Soccer.

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