The puck won’t drop for Game 1 between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers until Wednesday night, but for local businesses the next round started just hours after the Flames punched their ticket into the second round.
Several bars along the coveted Red Mile downtown took Monday off to prepare for the upcoming Battle of Alberta series and get ready for one of the most anticipated series this NHL playoffs.
While the ambiance of fans down 17 Avenue isn’t new for businesses, Alberta Hospitality Association spokesperson Ernie Tsu says a day off Monday wasn’t just to prepare but also to give his employees an intermission of their own.
“Round 1 was pretty tough on our staff,” Tsu said. “We have quite a few Oilers fans that come in here as well, so it was 14 days straight and now we’re getting ready for the Battle of Alberta.”
The Trolley Five Brewpub was closed to customers Monday after both the Flames and Oilers wrapped up their respective series this weekend, both going the distance.
Tsu says with three floors in the restaurant, he isn’t taking any chances, at least not right away, given the history between the two teams.
“We’ll split the floors. We will have the Oilers fans up on one level, and then the Flames down on two levels,” Tsu said when asked if he’ll mix fans during the series.
“I’m not (going to mix) for the first couple of games, just to see how everyone is gonna behave,” he said.
Down the street, a new comer to the Red Mile is excited to see the rivalry. The Whisky Rose opened its doors in December. They too took the day Monday to get all the right pieces in place.
“It’s extra security, it’s extra staff,” says operating partner Devin Peterson.
“A bunch of us are here on their day off right now to get the scheduling prepared, and make sure we’ve got enough orders and we’re ready to go for it,” he added.
However, bars are the only business in town feeling the boom of Calgary’s playoff run.
At Adrenalin Source for Sports, floor manager Brennan Klimchuk describes the past two weeks as electric, selling nearly 50 Flames jerseys since the start of the playoffs while other items are hard to come by.
“Car flags are sold out,” said Klimchuk. “If you don’t have at least four car flags on your car, you are not a true fan.”
The puck drops for Game 1 at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.