Canucks buzz spilling over to bars, restaurants

Hostess Melissa Merk and the staff at the Langley Boston Pizza are ready for the NHL’s Western Conference finals which begin on Sunday. Bars and restaurants in Langley are seeing increased business during the Canucks playoff run.   - Gary AHUJA/Langley Times
Hostess Melissa Merk and the staff at the Langley Boston Pizza are ready for the NHL’s Western Conference finals which begin on Sunday. Bars and restaurants in Langley are seeing increased business during the Canucks playoff run.
— image credit: Gary AHUJA/Langley Times

Local pubs and restaurants are reaping the benefits of the Vancouver Canucks post-season run as Canuck-mania skyrockets across the province.

The Vancouver Canucks, who open play in the NHL’s Western Conference finals on Sunday — the furthest the team has made it since 1994 — are one series victory away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals.

And fans of the hockey team are flocking to local establishments to catch the games.

“Our business has definitely increased, especially on weekdays,” said Gurp Sahota, the owner of Baselines Pub in Langley City.

“I would say (we are up) 50 per cent.”

The pub has capacity for 236 patrons and seating for 188.

And when the Canucks are playing, he estimates the establishment is at about 75 per cent capacity, with all of the tables occupied.

A Canucks game on the TV also means that instead of the usual one bartender and one server who might be working on a Monday night, one bartender and three servers will be attending to patrons.

Sahota also said that almost everyone in the place will be wearing some sort of Canucks gear.

It is a similar story at the Langley Boston Pizza.

“Game days have been quite good,” said general manager Don Haluska.

“There is no doubt the Canucks have brought in more revenue.”

One thing Haluska did notice was that the crowd was bigger for the Canucks’ first round playoff series victory over Chicago, compared to their round two defeat of Nashville.

“There was a definite change between round one and round two, both in excitement level and actually the number of bodies we see in the place,” he explained. “(Against Chicago) you heard the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the people.”

Regardless of the drop off, both series still represented an improvement compared to an average weekday night with no hockey game.

The restaurant has 33 tables and capacity for 150 people.

They are pretty much full on game days, with families coming in to watch the game with their kids and staying for the full three hours.

The trickle down effect means there are more shifts for the staff as well, as they usually need an extra two to three servers plus support staff on game days.

The restaurant patrons are also showing Canuck spirit.

“If you are coming in to watch the game, we know who you are; there are a lot of jerseys,” Haluska said.

Jerseys are also popular at Jimy Mac’s Pub.

“There is a lot of team spirit,” said manager Elissa Duke.

Fans also come to the sports bar for the Jimy Mac’s/Molson Canadian promotion which offers patrons a chance to win Canuck tickets to the next home game.

While still busier than non-game days, Duke said crowd sizes were down in round two compared the previous round.

A lot of this had to do with earlier start times.

“Five o’clock games are hard for people because they are just getting off work,” she said. “They want to go home first and change.”

But the spike in business is still significant enough to demand about two extra staff members per game when the Canucks are in action.

According to Ian Tostenson, the president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurants and Food Services Association, a Canucks game is estimated to generate $1 million to $2 million province-wide for the restaurant industry.

Game one of Vancouver’s Western Conference final is Sunday at 5 p.m.


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