VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – People will be packing pubs and other venues in Metro Vancouver for tonight’s Raptors game. What’s the best spot? There are plenty of options.
Probably the biggest viewing party in the region will be at the Abbotsford Centre, home of the Canadian Basketball League’s Fraser Valley Bandits.
The Bandits’ Andrew Savory says there’s a lot of local love for Toronto and its success story.
“Ultimately this is all about showcasing that that type of passion for basketball and for the Raptors is alive and well in B.C. We put our heads together with the City of Abbotsford and Tourism Abbotsford as well and also Abbotsford Centre and saw an opportunity to give a home to that passion.”
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and it’s a free, all-ages event but you have to get tickets online. Savory says a couple thousand tickets have already been scooped up.
“It’s an opportunity to win a championship on home soil,” he says. “We need to be having something on British Columbia soil that allows fans in B.C. to celebrate as well, just to showcase that coastal reach of the Raptors.”
If you like your hoops a little less all-ages, most sports bars and pubs will be showing the Raptors try to take the win on home soil. You’ll need to get there up to two hours early if you actually want a seat. Places like the Red Card Sports Bar in downtown Vancouver fill up well ahead of tip-off.
If you want a really big screen experience, many Cineplex Odeon movie theatres are also showing the game. Tickets are free, but only in-person at the box office.
Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association says while bars will be busy, he doesn’t think we’ll see a repeat of the problems Vancouver had during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
“It’s not like the situations that happened in Vancouver before, the riots,” he says. “If by chance we did win, I think people would say that’s good.”
But bars do have extra security on hand, just in case. The Vancouver Police Department says it hadn’t seen anything to indicate there will be a major problem, win or lose, but officers will be on hand and prepared to handle any situation.
Of course you can always plunk down on your couch to watch in the comfort of your own home on CityTV and Sportsnet, no reservation required.