Made in Saskatoon: Changing faces of SaskTel Centre for events

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Made in Saskatoon: Changing faces of SaskTel Centre for events
WATCH ABOVE: SaskTel Centre may look empty in between events but as video journalist Eric Beck finds out, a makeover is happening behind the scenes – Mar 16, 2016

SASKATOON – SaskTel Centre holds approximately 14,700 people at maximum capacity for hockey games and sporting events. This is nearly double the amount of seating the building originally held when it opened, holding only 7,800 people in 1988.

“Over the past decade,” SaskTel Centre executive director Scott Ford said, “we’ve made the list of Pollstars busiest arenas in the world. For 2015, we were the 102nd busiest arena.”

READ MORE: SaskTel Centre ranks among world’s best for ticket sales

Big-name concerts, professional bull riding, monster trucks, trade shows, Western Hockey League (WHL) games and, most recently, the National Lacrosse League’s Saskatchewan Rush are just some of the events held in SaskTel Centre.

Attending an event is one thing, but seeing what happens behind the scenes is another.

Jay Keating, director of operations for the arena, explained that within five hours of hockey players coming off of the ice, lacrosse players can be practising on the turf. Eight people lay down ice decking to protect the ice and then lay out fourteen rolls of artificial turf on top to create a playing surface for the Rush.

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The ice stays installed throughout the Saskatoon Blades’ hockey season, only coming out for the summer and the Sundog trade show.

For events like the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) finals or Motorsports Spectacular, Keating explains they have their own dirt that they re-use for the events.

“We have it out in one of our parking lots. We have two piles. One is actually for PBR and one is for Motorsports. We don’t want to cross-contaminate. Motorsports has oil, glass and other contaminants in it that could be harmful to the bulls in PBR. So they each have their own set of dirt.”

“SaskTel Centre does offer something for everybody. Whether it’s a concert product, sports product or family show, we have a great annual mix of events.”

The Saskatoon Blades are back on the ice Wednesday in Regina when they take on the Pats. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. CT. The Blades last home game of the year is Saturday when they wrap up their 2015-16 season against the Prince Albert Raiders.

Saskatchewan Rush next home game is March 26 where they host the Toronto Rock.

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