The NHL returned to Saskatoon Tuesday, but some fans didn’t get the full experience they paid for after getting stuck in traffic outside Sasktel Centre.
Some of the over 13,000 people with tickets missed the opening faceoff between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tony Meyer and his friends were caught in the gridlock and didn’t get to their seats until the second period.
“I didn’t love it, but I mean the first day of snow every year everyone in Saskatoon forgets how to drive, so I thought it had something to do with that.”
Meyer wasn’t alone. Dozens of fans took to twitter to vent about their frustration — some claimed they waited over two hours in traffic.
— MWaldner (@MarcyWaldner) October 5, 2016
1 hour and 50 minutes from Nutana to Sasktel Centre. Should have driven to Regina instead. #yxe
— Ryan Banow (@rbanow) October 5, 2016
The congestion caught Sasktel Centre staff by surprise.
Folks in traffic… our ingress plan is the same as Rush games and Garth Brooks. No specific reason for the congestion.
— SaskTel Centre (@SaskTelCtr) October 5, 2016
Executive Director Scott Ford addressed the criticism following the game. He believes an accident, combined with the bad weather was to blame for the added congestion.
“You got to remember, we have two ways for traffic to get into the property, and if there is any kind of fender bender on the road it really puts us behind,” he told 650 CKOM.
“We do our best. We know that it was slow getting in … but its not because of a lack of effort by Sasktel Centre.”
Saskatoon Police said one minor accident was reported but the vehicles involved were moved off the roadway almost immediately and didn’t impede traffic.
Although missing a portion of the game was frustrating, Meyer didn’t let it ruin his night.
“Sometimes you have to load up Kesha in the old CD player and take your lumps as they come,” he joked.
with files from JT Marshall