Don Cherry: Saskatoon’s a viable NHL destination

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Saskatchewan is the richest province in Canada, according to Don Cherry. That was one of the arguments he used during Coach’s Corner to argue that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is worthy of an NHL team.

In response to the smirk that’s probably on your face, Cherry went on to say that people laughed when he said that Winnipeg would get a team and sure enough, the NHL has returned to that city. However, we do see one issue with Cherry’s logic.

Winnipeg’s metropolitan area has a population of 730,018, which is small by NHL standards. Compare that to Saskatoon’s metropolitan area, which is currently home to 260,600 people according to the 2011 Census report. Although, based on figures provided by Cherry, that number balloons to 400,000 if you widen the range to 80 miles. That’s a distance that apparently “means nothing” out west, according to Cherry. So if you count everyone within 80 miles of Saskatoon and assume that a healthy chunk of them would be willing to drive that distance on a regular basis for the sake of regular season NHL hockey, the number still pales in comparison to Winnipeg. That’s not even touching things like TV ratings.

Saskatchewan certainly sounds like a tough sell to us.