A Saturday night lacrosse game made history as the largest announced attendance for a sports game at SaskTel Centre.
With 15,192 people watching, The Rush took on The Calgary Roughnecks in game two of the west division final series.
The 12-9 win secured Saskatchewan a shot at defending the National Lacrosse League (NLL) championship title.
“It’s pretty exhilarating to be honest with you,” said Rush captain, Chris Corbeil.
“You’ve got a packed house waiting for you to play in front of and it really makes the difference.”
The Rush swept the playoff series 2-0, winning 16-10 in Calgary on May 14.
The boys in green are now heading off to take on east division champs The Buffalo Bandits for game one in the best-of-three Champion’s Cup Finals Saturday night.
Corbeil, a seven-year veteran of the NLL, played two years with Buffalo before joining The Rush in Edmonton.
Prior to the team moving east to Saskatchewan last year, Corbeil had only been to Saskatoon once – when a flight out to Edmonton had to make an emergency landing.
He told The Brent Loucks Show Tuesday morning, this last season has been the most fun playing lacrosse.
“Playing a lot of years in Edmonton where we struggled to get big crowds, and come out to a lot of empty seats; it was discouraging at times,” he said.
“But we’re facing the exact opposite now playing out of Saskatoon, and it’s just phenomenal.”
The fan frenzy surprised Corbeil, who admitted he was one of the biggest skeptics of the move. He said it wasn’t so much that Saskatoon was a smaller centre than Edmonton, but that there might be more unfamiliarity with the sport.
“That hasn’t been the case at all; fans are really enjoying the atmosphere of the building during games and they’re picking up the game quick too,” Corbeil said.
The captain said the team will have their hands full playing the Bandits.
Buffalo edged the Rush 19-18 during the only meeting of the regular season between the two teams on Feb. 26.
“They’ve got some big fire power and a good right-handed player over there by the name of Dhane Smith, who set a lot of NLL records this season,” he said.
Several Rush players have lent their talents to the Bandits in the past, including Corbeil himself.
If they get the win this weekend, The Rush could wrap the NLL championship in Saskatoon at SaskTel Centre on June 4.
Playoff tickets went on sale to the general public 10 a.m. Tuesday; in the first two hours, 6,500 tickets had been sold.
Season ticket holders will have their seats held for playoff purchase until later this week.
Saturday’s game in Buffalo starts 5:30 p.m. CST and will be carried on TSN2, TSNGO and Watch ESPN.