I had the pleasure of attending the first live sports event since the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday night. The Saskatchewan Rattlers welcomed their fans back to SaskTel Centre as they went head-to-head with the undefeated Edmonton Stingers. While the Rattlers didn’t get the win, they put on a heck of a show for their fans.
Walking up to SaskTel Centre before the doors opened on Monday, I got chills. The building has not hosted a live sports event in nearly a year and a half. I have spent many, many nights at SaskTel Centre, watching sports events and concerts, and I was excited to get back in there and enjoy live events again.
My colleagues Jeff and Whitney joined me, as they had never been to a Saskatchewan Rattlers game before. Our tickets were sent to me by text message, and it was very easy to send the link to Jeff and Whitney so they could access the building. SaskTel Centre and the Saskatchewan Rattlers are embracing paperless ticketing and I must say the process was extremely user-friendly.
Arriving at SaskTel Centre, the first thing I noticed was that there were hand sanitizing stations everywhere. They were on stands throughout the concourse and at every concession stand. In addition, a new point of sale system has been installed, allowing customers to tap their debit or credit cards, reducing the amount of touch points with cash. Cash is absolutely still accepted at all their concessions.
With regards to masks, with public health restrictions being lifted the day before, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it comes to masks. From what I saw, the majority of fans wore their masks into the building and then removed them when they were seated. The Rattlers require that the fans on the floor wear their masks for the game, as well as their game-day staff and players on the bench. As someone who has both of her vaccinations, I felt very comfortable in the building without my mask on. As always, you are welcome to continue wearing your mask during the entire game and there were plenty of people who did.
LET’S TALK BASKETBALL!
I had the hardest time choosing what to wear to the game. Thankfully, the wonderful followers on Tourism Saskatoon’s Instagram page helped me decide. I went with the jersey because let's be real – a live sports event is the BEST place to wear your jersey! I also had the hardest time choosing what to eat at SaskTel Centre but the crew went with a classic – rink burgers and beer. There is just something about the taste of a rink burger that you can’t replicate at home. The Rattlers had DJ Charly Hustle in the house spinning some pretty excellent tunes. I don’t know what I would have done if he didn’t play the Space Jam song but he knows his audience!
PHOTO CREDIT: Liam Richards
The game itself was incredibly exciting. This photo from Liam Richards shows an epic block from the Rattlers that had everyone on their feet. If you don’t follow Liam on Instagram, I highly suggest you do as his photos are amazing. We spent the game cheering on the Rattlers, gently heckling the referees, and trying to get our hands on one of the balls that Rattler's mascot Swish was throwing into the crowd. To our massive disappointment, we didn’t get one but we enjoyed seeing how excited the kids were when they got their hands on one.
NEXT HOME GAME
Current CEBL standings have the Guelph Nighthawks at 1-4 and the Saskatchewan Rattlers at 0-7. Not the best record for either team but regardless, you will have the opportunity to see some high-impact basketball. Players to watch for the Rattlers include D’Andre Bernard. At 6’8’, the forward from Ajax, Ontario is incredibly talented and a pleasure to watch. Fan favourite would have to be Alexander Dewar. Dewar comes directly to the Saskatchewan Rattlers from the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and is from Saskatoon. The crowd got loud every time he touched the ball so there’s a lot of support and pride for our hometown guy.
Tickets for the Friday’s game can be found at www.tickemaster.ca. Tickets start at $25 plus fees and taxes. The Saskatchewan Rattlers are back. Events at SaskTel Centre are back. Grab your tickets and join in on the fun!