VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The first round of the NHL playoffs is just about done and with no Canadian content, there are concerns about how local bars and restaurants will fare over the spring. That’s when they can usually pull in a little extra cash from crowds of thirsty, hungry hockey fans.
But there is a silver lining, says Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association.
“Owners that I’ve spoken to told me that the fact hockey isn’t on in Vancouver right now with the Canucks is a good thing for the restaurants and that people are in fact leaving home and going out to restaurants, instead of watching the game at home,” says Tostensen.
“We haven’t seen that effect for a few years.”
That, combined with the recent warm weather — which has helped fill patios — has almost made people forget the Canucks’ dismal season that saw them finish third-last in the overall standings, setting up a date with the NHL draft lottery on Saturday night.
“There is some counterbalance here for restaurants. We’ve had some really good weather. We’ve had some really big events here like Paul McCartney that fills up the city. So I think people are dining and forgetting about hockey,” says Tostenson.
“I was a bit surprised by it. But right now, it seems the impact of no hockey is positive.”
He notes a Canucks playoff run would normally generate over $1 million per game for the industry, but that lost revenue is being made up.
“The industry is very adaptive and so it will just find other ways to make up that revenue. Fortunately for us, we’re in a strong economic cycle in British Columbia,” says Tostenson.
He points to the low dollar, which is encouraging more US tourism as another reason for optimism within the industry.