'We did it': Regina, Saskatoon fans cheer Raptors win
Thousands gathered in Mosaic Stadium, Civic Square
The Toronto Raptors have won the NBA Championships against the Golden State Warriors. Fans in Saskatchewan gathered together for the historic game — Saskatoon residents gathering in Civic Square and Regina fans coming together in Mosaic Stadium.
"I'm so blessed, this is my country, this is where I'm from," Chandler Benjoe said after watching the game at Mosaic Stadium. "I feel like crying right now."
Around 10,000 people were at Mosaic Stadium to watch Game 6. There was a mixture of Saskatchewan Roughriders gear, Toronto Raptors gear and the occasional Golden State Warriors outfit. The Raptors won the series 4 - 2.
"We're so excited, it's a joy," Devon Hogberg. "It's once in a lifetime opportunity."
"I knew they would clinch the night," he said. "It's our time, it's Canada time."
Hogberg said it was electric in Mosaic Stadium.
For some residents, the free viewing was the first time they'd been in the large stadium.
Ty Ocaya and Jordan Salisbury play for the Regina Mambas basketball team and watched the game with some of their friends.
"It's pretty cool," Ocaya said. "It's kind of cool to see all the people come out because we're all huge basketball fans."
Salisbury was cheering mostly for Fred VanVleet and said he likes how fast paced the game is.
"The screen is huge," Salisbury said. "It's good to see people supporting them."
"It's crazy," Lucas Durant said of the stadium. "Just the atmosphere, it's amazing."
Durant would like to see Mosaic Stadium host more televised sporting event screenings, like the Stanley Cup or the Superbowl.
Brea Kequahtooway said movies would also be a good option for events at the stadium. She came out to the Raptors game to support her sister.
"I've never been inside before, I've seen it from outside," she said. "It's a nice gesture."
Roughriders fans come out for game at 5
Rob Preston, Tiawna Lamontagne and Paul Lewis were wearing their Raptor gear but came to Mosaic Stadium early enough to catch the Saskatchewan Roughriders game which kicked off at 5 p.m. CST. Preston said the atmosphere of Monday's night is what brought him back for a second viewing time.
"We're going to win of course," Lamontagne said. "All of our boys have to bring it."
Larry Vandelinden and Adam Read weren't able to attend the Monday night screening but came out in a mixture of Roughrider and Raptors gear for Thursday. Vandelinden said Mosaic Stadium should open up more in the future for different events.
"I think it's really cool," Vandelinden said. "I couldn't believe they were doing it so I wanted to see what it was like."
Saskatoon cheers in Civic Square
"I am so happy. We did it!," said Ryan Davis who was wearing a "King of the North" crown. He said it was "so exciting" to see the city come together and support the Raptors.
"It just means everything in the world to come away with this one," Davis said.
"We're so excited to be here," said Susan Lehnert who drove in with her family from Biggar for the game.
"We're just excited to be a part of this," she said. "It means a lot that we have only one Canadian team and here we are."
Jon Ravichander, who has been supporting the team since 2006, said the being a Toronto fan is tough, but the championship win on Thursday was worth it.
"To bring a championship back to the county that invented basketball, that's huge," he said. "It's back in its rightful place."
Crowd appears to have grown here in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Saskatoon?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Saskatoon</a>. Officials with the hosting party estimate 250+ out here tonight. <a href="https://t.co/1UgOYbNPCA">pic.twitter.com/1UgOYbNPCA</a>—@_MorganModjeski
Organizers with Thursday's viewing party estimated they had more than 250 residents out at the event.
"Alternatively, we could have all been sitting on our own couches at home watching this game," said Sarah Marchildon, with the Downtown Business Improvement District. "But here, we have that stranger sitting next to you, where we're cheering together."
With files from Bonnie Allen and Morgan Modjeski