With Canucks in final, fans flock to bars

It’s no secret how pumped the province – and the rest of the country – is about the Canucks heading into the Stanley Cup finals tonight.

It’s been a long time since the Cup came home, but many feel that this year it will return to the Great White North.

Bruins fans would say that’s wishful thinking, but for several local pub managers it’s a win-win situation.

Since the Canucks began their run to the finals back in April, Garry Clarkston, manager of the Fruitvale Pub, said he’s seen more people out in his pub on game nights.

“The last series here we had quite a few people come in,” he said. “This has been a blessing in disguise for us and it’s brought a lot of people in, sitting around and watching the game so it’s been good.

“It has been picking up and I’m hoping that trend continues through the final series here.”

Jeff Boag, owner of the Arlington Hotel, said that throughout the Canucks playoff run business has been very consistent on game nights.

“From the other series we’ve done quite well each night with the games leading up to this point so I surmise it (the finals) will be good.”

Paul Gluska, operations manager of Rossland’s  Flying Steamshovel, agreed.

“We had a marginal crowd in the first two series but once they started playing San Jose things started to pick up. The last two games were very good for us and we’re expecting a good turn out for the finals.”

The energy is very high on game nights, they said.

“The atmosphere is pretty pro-Canuck but I noticed here in Game 7 of the Boston series there were a lot of Bruins jerseys here in the Arlington so we could have a pretty good mix with the Bruins in the final – there’s a lot of Boston fans here,” said Boag.

“Everybody’s riveted, so there’s lots of cheering and groaning depending on the way the game is going,” Gluska added.

“The atmosphere is quite electric really.”

All three bars offer door prizes and give-aways on game nights as well, as well as other house specials.

All three encourage fans to come out and watch the games in the pubs, not only for business reasons but for social reasons too.

“It’s more fun — you’ve got the energy from the other fans, it’s exciting, there’s conversation,” Gluska explained.

“If you can’t be there for the live show the bar’s the next best because you still get the energy from the other people and it definitely makes a difference — I find personally it’s more exciting than watching at home.”

“It’s nice in a group atmosphere, a lot more fun rather than sitting on the couch by yourself watching the hockey game,” said Boag. “So come on in and enjoy the atmosphere and root for the Canucks — or the Bruins, if you have to!”

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