Saskatoon Blues: the NHL team that almost was
Did you know that Saskatoon almost had an NHL team? They would have been called the Saskatoon Blues
Once upon a time Saskatoon almost had an NHL team.
It was 1983 and Bill Hunter was the man behind it all.
"Bill Hunter did a lot of insane and crazy things in his life that were totally revolutionary and changed the way hockey is organized and the way the NHL operates today," said filmmaker Kyle Burgess.
Burgess is making a documentary about the team could have been.
They were going to be called the Saskatoon Blues, but unfortunately it was vetoed by the NHL before it was properly formed.
"Growing up in Saskatoon [Bill] had always wanted to own a hockey team, so throughout his career he bought and sold teams and eventually helped to create what is now the Western Hockey League," Burgess said.
This restructured the way professional hockey was shaped in Canada, and according to Burgess, it did not do Hunter any favours when it came to the NHL.
Despite the Saskatoon Blues idea being vetoed by the NHL, the team collected support from across the province, without ever having been an official team.
Burgess wanted to know why, and the more he researched the more he realized that the answer was not as simple as he thought.
Initially he thought it was only because of the size of Saskatchewan, but it seemed that was not the case.
"I found all of these past conflicts of people that he had done business with in the NHL. There is a lot more to the story of why Saskatoon didn't get a hockey team," Burgess said.
In addition to exploring the history of the NHL in the province, the documentary will also honour the legacy of the late Bill Hunter.
Burgess hopes to release the documentary early next year.