November 2006: U of S hosts Vanier Cup
In early 2005, Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) announced that the University of Saskatchewan would host the 2006 Vanier Cup—the first time the football championship would be hosted outside of Ontario.
This came after extensive upgrades were made to Griffiths Stadium, including new field lighting and artificial turf, in order to meet hosting requirements by the CIS.
The U of S Huskies had finished second in the regular season behind the University of Manitoba Bisons before beginning their playoff run. After defeating the UBC Thunderbirds in the first playoff game, the Huskies went on the road and claimed victory again over the Bisons, before beating the University of Ottawa to earn a spot in the 42nd Vanier Cup.
The sold-out game on Nov. 25 attracted close to 13,000 parka-clad fans to the newly-upgraded Griffiths Stadium at PotashCorp Park. Ultimately, with over half a million Canadians watching the game on television, the Huskies fell 13-8 to the Université Laval Rouge et Or, to drop their third straight Vanier Cup.
However, hosting the game was regarded as a major success, receiving a significant amount of media coverage and providing a boost to the local tourism market. One tool, the Sports Tourism Economic Assessment Model, estimated the game’s economic impact for the city and province was more than $16.5 million.