SASKATOON, SK – It is official. There are now nine teams in the Canadian Premier League (CPL). Saskatoon, Saskatchewan will be the fourth team in the prairies and has plans to play at Prairieland Park. This will be Saskatchewan’s first-ever first-tier professional soccer team.
Saskatoon is the next CPL team and plans to play at Prairieland Park
Ownership group, Praireland Park, and the people involved
The CPL is pleased to announce that @LivingSkySport1 has been awarded the exclusive rights to a expansion club in Saskatchewan conditional on the approval of a soccer-specific stadium, with a location at Saskatoon's @PrairielandPark identified as a preferred site.#CanPL
— CanPL (@CPLsoccer) March 12, 2021
The ownership group of this team will be Living Sky Sports and Entertainment Inc. (LSSE) created specifically for Saskatoon to have a Canadian Premier League team according to Canpl.ca Staff. The founder of LSSE is Alan Simpson. LSSE approached Prairieland Park, which is a membership-based non-profit organization. This was what Mark Regler, CEO of Prairieland Park said:
“When Prairieland was approached about the possibility of a soccer stadium at the Park, we felt compelled to consider whether such an infrastructure project could enhance the long-term sustainability of the Park, as well as contribute meaningfully to the City of Saskatoon.”
The plan is to play at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Saskatoon is the second expansion team in the Canadian Premier League. LSSE plans to make Prairieland Park into a soccer-specific stadium according to the CPL. Ottawa was awarded an expansion team last year and was named Atlético Ottawa. It is unknown when Saskatoon will begin to play in the Canadian Premier League.
Saskatoon being on CPL’s radar and a potential rivalry with Valour FC
With the news of Saskatoon getting a team, there are now teams in all four western provinces of Canada. They will have plenty of rivals in the Canadian Premier League. Most notably, is their rivalry with Winnipeg, Manitoba in Valour FC. In the Canadian Football League (CFL), the Saskatchewan Roughriders (based in Regina) and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers compete against each other in the Labour Day Classic and the Banjo Bowl. Lastly, both the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan border each other, which shows the geographic rivalry between the two provinces.
Saskatoon previously held the SK Summer Soccer Series at SMF Field in 2019. In this series, Saskatoon had a team called the Saskatchewan Selects. The series was used as a test for Saskatoon on trying to become a CPL team. So, the city of Saskatoon has always been on the Canadian Premier League’s radar. Joe Belan played a major role in organizing the SK Summer Soccer Series. It is important to note though that neither Belan nor the SK Summer Soccer Series is involved with the new CPL expansion team. This is according to Duane Rollins, Host of SoccerToday.
Interesting. Different group from SSSS.
— Duane Rollins (@24thminute) March 12, 2021
It is unknown right now what the plan is for Joe Belan and his ownership group. However, the rumours of a second-tier soccer league originally reported by Simon Fudge could be that potential spot. Recently, Rollins revealed a potential men’s division two league with a women’s division possibly being created according to John Jacques of the Northern Tribune. However, it is important that right now it is still a rumour and has not become reality yet.
CPL makes history with Saskatoon, plans to play at Prairieland Park
There are two major milestones with the Saskatoon announcement today. One, as mentioned before, will be Saskatoon’s and Saskatchewan’s first-ever first-tier professional soccer team. The second is that Canada now has the most men’s professional soccer teams in its history. When including the three Canadian MLS clubs, Canada now has 12 professional men’s soccer teams. This surpasses the mark in 1990 when the now-defunct first-tier Canadian Soccer League (CSL) had 11 professional teams in its league.
It also shows how the professional sports scene is being welcomed in Saskatoon. In 2014, Saskatoon had no professional sports teams. Now they have three professional sports teams in Saskatoon. They also have the Saskatchewan Rush (National Lacrosse League) and the Saskatchewan Rattlers (Canadian Elite Basketball League).