‘If the Canucks are scoring, the drinks are pouring’: Businesses, fans buzzing for playoffs


The Vancouver Canucks still have one more regular-season game to play, but fans and businesses in the city are already gearing up for their Stanley Cup playoff run.
Superfan Dave Stein is holding a space for the crown jewel of his $1-million collection of Canucks memorabilia.“I want a picture of the team holding the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t even have to be signed,” he told Global News.“I have the perfect spot for it on the wall.”

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Canucks first round match with Nashville

Stein has been collecting Canucks gear for 25 years and has amassed more than 1,000 certified autographed items, sticks, bobbleheads, game-worn jerseys and more. Story continues below advertisement

A deep run this year could help boost the collection that bedecks his ultimate “man cave.”“I really thought I was just going to have a couple of pieces but over time it just happened to blow up,” he said.“If people think I’m super crazy, so be it.”Superfans and fans alike aren’t the only ones getting excited about the run, the team’s first true playoff outing (with the exception of the pandemic bubble 2021 appearance) since 2015.B.C. businesses are hoping a fan frenzy will help carry them through a tough economic climate into the summer patio and tourism season.“The deeper we go in the playoffs the more full the bandwagon gets, and that’s the fun part of hockey playoffs,” Kelly Gordon, co-owner of Romer’s Burger Bar, told Global News.

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Playoff hockey is big business, and not just at the arena. Story continues below advertisement

Jordan Williamson, vice-president of core products and strategy at Moneris, said data shows a big boost in spending on game days.

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The biggest splash is in the zone around arenas, but bars and restaurants across the country also see an uptick.In fact, he said, whether a Canadian team wins a game means more to the economy than whether they’re playing at home.“What we saw in 2023, when Toronto went to Round 2, in Game 4 they had an away game and they won, and around the arena, we saw a 120 per cent increase in spending around the arena. In Game 5, they had a home game and they lost and we only saw a seven per cent increase,” he said.

“Whether it’s another round of drinks or staying late and chatting about the game, that continues the night much longer.”Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said the economic bounce is even more specific than that.The association’s research has found an uptick in both food and drink sales during the game itself every time the Canucks score.“If the Canucks are scoring, the drinks are pouring,” he said.“There is a real symbiotic relationship between how the Canucks are doing in a game, in a series, and how our industry goes.” Story continues below advertisement

The industry is also hoping to cash in on customers who aren’t even heading out to restaurants this year, with the advent of delivery services like Uber Eats and SkipTheDishes.

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“Which we didn’t have before the pandemic. Now, not only can you get food but you can also get your wine and beer to go with it too, so it’s going to be a much different play than it was in the past,” Tostenson said.Gordon said the bars and restaurants that do best off a playoff run will be the ones that have deals, prizes and social media campaigns.“If you don’t do anything, you are going to be looking at a lot of empty seats,” he said.“My advice to any restaurateur right now is to make your community excited, excited about what you do, have that special menu, have those things go on in your restaurant and you’re likely going to be very full.” Story continues below advertisement

Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Canucks organization remain tight-lipped about potential public viewing parties, while the City of Surrey says it has nothing in the works.Delta, meanwhile, says it will hold free outdoor screenings of every playoff game this spring.Get ready to cheer on the @Canucks at Social Heart Plaza! 🏒 Join us for free outdoor screenings of every playoff game this spring. Bring your pals, a lawn chair, and a blanket for a community celebration. Schedule against the Predators coming soon! #WeAreAllCanucks #AllTogether pic.twitter.com/ojKDCyUjWN— City of Delta (@CityofDeltaBC) April 18, 2024And while fan interest in the upcoming series against the Nashville Predators remains high, sky-high ticket resale prices have come back closer to earth.When tickets went on sale to the general public on April 1, they quickly appeared on the resale market starting at more than $400. Prices for Game 1, as of Thursday, started at $250 with fees included. Story continues below advertisement

Back in Stein’s man cave, the anticipation is building, along with the prospect of finally putting his hobby on hold.“I’ve made a rule to myself that I will keep collecting until the Canucks win the Stanely Cup,” he said.“So hopefully maybe we can get it done this year.”

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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