April 30, 2014 3:45 pm

Hockey delivered bruising hit to economy in February

NHL arenas were silenced during the two-week Olympic Games in Sochi.

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Hockey isn’t just a cultural institution in Canada—it’s an economic engine.

For proof, look no further than the latest reading on growth in Canada, released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.

The federal agency said the economy grew by a modest 0.2 per cent in February, with a rebound in mining activity offsetting slowdowns elsewhere.

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The biggest drop however was in the arts and entertainment industries, where economic activity contracted by five per cent.

The drag on that sector, it appears, was a pronounced dearth of pro hockey games happening around the country over a two-week stretch while the NHL was on hiatus.

“The big downside surprise was a five per cent plunge in the arts and entertainment sector, which was caused by the two-week shutdown of the NHL during the Sochi Olympics,” Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal said.

“Proving once again, hockey matters to this economy.”

And with a nation riveted by a pair of gold-medal runs from the men’s and women’s hockey teams, productivity across a myriad of other sectors likely took a hit, as well.

Extend or early hours at bars and taverns sadly weren’t enough to reverse the momentary downturn.

WATCH: Canada’s women’s hockey win gold in dramatic fashion

© Shaw Media, 2014

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