Bill Hunter (ice Hockey) - The "Saskatchewan Blues"

The "Saskatchewan Blues"

Hunter made one more serious attempt to bring a professional team to Western Canada when in 1983 he offered to purchase the financially struggling St. Louis Blues and move the team to his hometown. The offer raised many eyebrows even in Canada as few thought an NHL team could survive in a relatively small city. Nonetheless, Hunter was able to obtain commitments for 18,000 season tickets as well as for an 18,000 seat arena. This did not prove sufficient for the NHL Board of Governors, who blocked the transaction even though doing so forced the league to take over the team itself.

The Blues were eventually sold to Harry Ornest, who kept the franchise in St. Louis, where it remains to this day.

However, Hunter's efforts did not prove completely fruitless, as the city eventually built Saskatchewan Place in 1988, although many Saskatonians felt the location chosen for the facility was inferior to the site Hunter had proposed for his centre. Following his death, the City of Saskatoon renamed a street near Saskatchewan Place after Hunter. He is considered a hero in Saskatchewan sports history. Following his death in 2002, Saskatoon hosted the IIHF Championships in 2009.

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