While the teams going to the medal round of Olympic men’s hockey were just determined this morning in the Sweden/Finland and Canada/U.S. semifinals, the provincial government was hedging its bets Thursday that Canada would be in the final game.
The B.C. Ministry of Justice announced that it would relax the B.C. liquor laws and allow bars and pubs to extend their opening hours to allow patrons to remain in their establishments to watch the men’s Olympic hockey gold medal game, which airs at 4 a.m. Sunday morning in B.C.
Subject to local government bylaws, pubs and bars will be able to remain open, provided no alcohol is served, in order to watch the game on the large screen TV’s that have become a fixture in many establishments.
However, interest in local bars and pubs appears to be limited.
“We hadn’t really thought about it,” said Len Fuller, general manager of the Villager’s Pub in Fruitvale, on Thursday afternoon.
“We won’t be staying open, although, if Canada gets past the States (Friday)we might re-think it. I think it might be more of a Vancouver thing though.”
Although hours may be extended, bars will have to observe the existing licensed liquor service hours and their regular last calls and the earliest that liquor can be served in B.C. is 9 a.m.
“I think in a small community it won’t be that much of a big deal,” said Jeff Boag, owner-manager of the Arlington Hotel in Trail.
“We’d still have our 12 a.m. last call and I don’t think our patrons would want to sit around drinking water or coffee for four hours waiting for the game.”
In addition to the restrictions on serving alcohol, managers would have little time to arrange for additional staffing to extend their hours through the night.
“I wouldn’t see a great demand for a bar to stay open and serve coffee,” said Paul Gluska, manager of the Flying Steamshovel, in Rossland.
“We’ve had pretty good crowds for some of the Olympic events but I don’t think this would draw enough to be worth it,”
“I don’t really have the staff to do it. I’d have to bring in another shift to work from 2 till 6 a.m. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people have private parties in their homes but it’s not likely something we’d be doing.”