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Excitement high in Vancouver for Canucks’ return to playoffs

Click to play video: 'Canucks set for Game 1 of playoffs'
Canucks set for Game 1 of playoffs
Fans are pumped for the first Canucks home playoff game in almost a decade. Grace Ke is at Rogers Arena with the latest on how bars and restaurants are preparing and the lack of public viewing parties – Apr 21, 2024

Vancouver Canucks fans have been waiting years for Sunday, as it is the first Canucks home playoff game since 2015.

Vancouver will be squaring off against Nashville in the opening round.

The two teams have met before in the post-season, but never in the first round.

The excitement in the city is palpable, with Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim leading the way.

“What a great season for the Canucks! As a lifelong fan, I’m thrilled to cheer them on as they enter the playoffs,” Sim said.

“Win or lose, let’s make our home team proud and celebrate every game with the unmatched passion and respect that defines our city. Go Canucks go!”

Unfortunately for Vancouver fans, there is no official watch party in the downtown area.

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However, there is one official watch party in Delta that is being promoted by the City of Delta.

It will be at Social Heart Plaza starting at 7 p.m. Sunday, the same time as puck drop for Game 1. The City plans to host the family-friendly watch parties for every game during the Canuck’s playoff run.

Click to play video: 'Fans priced out by high cost of Canucks playoff tickets'
Fans priced out by high cost of Canucks playoff tickets

The mayor and fans alike aren’t the only ones getting excited about the run, the team’s first true playoff outing (with the exception of the pandemic bubble 2021 appearance) since 2015.

Businesses around the province are hoping fans will help carry them through a tough economic climate into the summer patio and tourism season.

“The deeper we go in the playoffs the more full the bandwagon gets, and that’s the fun part of hockey playoffs,” Kelly Gordon, co-owner of Romer’s Burger Bar, told Global News.

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Playoff hockey is big business, and not just at the arena, but also for the community, especially in the downtown core.

Jordan Williamson, vice-president of core products and strategy at Moneris, said data shows a big boost in spending on game days.

The biggest splash is in the zone around arenas, but bars and restaurants across the country also see an uptick.

In fact, he said, whether a Canadian team wins a game means more to the economy than whether they’re playing at home.

“What we saw in 2023, when Toronto went to Round 2, in Game 4 they had an away game and they won, and around the arena, we saw a 120 per cent increase in spending around the arena. In Game 5, they had a home game and they lost and we only saw a seven per cent increase,” he said.

“Whether it’s another round of drinks or staying late and chatting about the game, that continues the night much longer.”

B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s CEO Ian Tostenson said the Canucks’ success will also dictate money being spent.

“If the Canucks are scoring, the drinks are pouring,” he said. “There is a real symbiotic relationship between how the Canucks are doing in a game, in a series, and how our industry goes.”

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And while interest in the upcoming series against the Predators remains high, sky-high ticket resale prices have come back closer to earth.

When tickets went on sale to the general public on April 1, they quickly appeared on the resale market starting at more than $400. Prices for Game 1, as of Thursday, started at $250 with fees included.

Click to play video: 'Bars and restaurants hope for Vancouver Canucks playoff success'
Bars and restaurants hope for Vancouver Canucks playoff success

— With files from Simon Little

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