Michael Joss

Michael Joss

Pubs lament missed Olympic business due to Sochi time difference

2014 Winter Games expected to be less lucrative for B.C. businesses due to 12-hour difference from Russia

It’s a mutual memory many Canadians share: a crowded bar, Team Canada jerseys everywhere, an overtime goal from Sidney Crosby, the ensuing celebration and joy.

Sadly the experience will be much different during these Winter Olympics.

Should the men’s hockey team and other Canadian Olympic hopefuls make it to gold medal matches, many of them will be competing in what will be the wee hours of the morning, due to the 12-hour time difference between Victoria and Sochi, Russia.

Canadian staples such as the gold medal game for men’s curling, much of the figure skating finals and, perhaps most concerning, the final for men’s hockey, air live at 4 a.m.

“The golden game, unfortunately we’re not going to be able to be open for,” said Michael Joss, owner of The Podium Sports Grill in Victoria. “Even if I was open and just serve juice and pop and food, (the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch is) not letting us do that unfortunately.”

Joss will open his Victoria sports pub at 9 a.m. every morning of the Olympics, allowing fans to catch rebroadcasts of early morning games and live sports airing mid-morning, including the men’s hockey round robin games and the women’s hockey gold medal game, airing at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The Podium also holds a restaurant license, meaning children are welcome.

“We’re going to have Olympics on all day long,” Joss said.

Over at The Monkey Tree Pub in Saanich, owner Robert Card is planning on hanging up some Canadian flags and screening the major events when he can.

“Everybody wants to watch something different. We have 13 TVs so hopefully we can find something for everybody,” Card said. “The nationalistic atmosphere goes up, you see more people in Canadian gear. It is always a buzz.”

The Monkey Tree will also show rebroadcasted events from early morning games.

“There’s nothing we can do about that unfortunately,” Card said. “Just like everybody else we don’t have a choice.”

In Oak Bay, Mark Herring, general manager of the Penny Farthing Olde English Pub, said while too many Canadian flags tend to impact the English pub feel, there will be drink and food specials to celebrate the games.

Herring does lament the fact much of the games will be on too early for them to be open, saying it is a missed opportunity for a business boost. Unlike this summer’s World Cup, which will be on during primo pub hours, the Olympics are causing some concern.

“It’s not the best, in terms of when it’s being shown,” Herring said. “It is a tough one.”

The Alliance of Beverage Licensees applied for rules to be loosened to allow pubs and bars to open in the morning so patrons could watch events live. The LCLB rejected the application.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com