Saskatchewan

Future bright for CFL in Saskatoon, report says

Saskatoon can probably forget about a National Hockey League team, although a Canadian Football League franchise is still in the cards, a report about sports in 2035 says.
The Regina-based Saskatchewan Roughriders are a successful CFL franchise, but by 2035, the province might be able to support a second team, the Conference Board of Canada says. (Paul Dornstauder/CBC)

Saskatoon can probably forget about a National Hockey League team, although a Canadian Football League franchise is still in the cards, a report about sports in 2035 says.  

In a new analysis released Thursday, the Conference Board of Canada looked at the future of professional sports in Canada, including football, baseball, basketball and soccer.

It notes that Saskatoon's population is expect to grow to 430,000 by 2035, which makes a second CFL franchise for Saskatchewan feasible.

"We expect that Saskatchewan will post the fastest growth rate among Canada’s provinces over the next 25 years, so the province will eventually have both the population and the incomes required to support two CFL franchises," the report said. "What a rivalry Saskatoon versus Regina would be!"

It's something of a change of heart for the Conference Board, which last year poured cold water on the idea of two teams in the province — at least right now.

Then, it noted that although the Saskatchewan Roughriders are Regina-based, the team draws support from around the province, and adding a second team could divide a unique market.

Meanwhile, as far as hockey goes, Saskatoon is out of luck, the latest report says.

Even with 430,000 people, the city will still be too small to sustain an NHL franchise.

It's possible new NHL teams could be established in Quebec City and Hamilton, Ont., the report says.

By 2035, Toronto could also support a second NHL franchise, it adds.

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