The Vancouver Canucks. They’re a team everyone loves to hate and hates to love.
Now the Canucks have missed the NHL playoffs with a 27-35-13 record as of Monday. And the team’s poor season is having an impact on local businesses.
Sean Poole, general manager of Tally-Ho Lounge on Douglas Street, said attendance during NHL-themed nights on Tuesday has dropped by more than half compared to the start of the season.
“Basically it’s just dried up. If we had them doing better or in the playoffs, (fans) would be here. But even then, people have no real urge to watch any hockey,” he said, adding giveaway nights when they give out round-trip tickets to Vancouver aren’t drawing nearly the same crowd .
“We don’t generate as much revenue on slower nights as we would on busy nights.”
When the Canucks were having a good season, like their playoff run in 2011 when they went to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins, there was more fan excitement attached to each game, according to Poole.
“It was more of an event so people wished to share that with their friends in an exciting setting . . . the better they’re doing, the more people want to make an event out of it,” Poole said, adding weekend games used to be busy.
Now things have changed.
Swanny Swannell, manager of Gorge Pointe Pub, said it’s not just Canucks fans that are shying away from from watching the sport at local bars and pubs, but also hockey fans in general, since there are no Canadian teams in the playoffs this season.
“I think it’s a negative impact on the big picture for sure. I think the absence of Canadian teams is the bigger issue for us, business-wise,” he said, adding bar attendance has decreased within the past six weeks. “No one even asked for the Canucks game to be on the other night. There are a lot less Canucks jerseys and hats in the crowd.”
Stores that sell Canucks merchandise are also taking a hit.
Carl Baiden at Jersey City in Mayfair Mall said overall jersey sales have decreased due to the Canucks’ poor performance.
“During hockey season, we rely quite a bit on (Canucks) sales,” he said.
But some remain optimistic. Poole is hopeful a new season and fresh start will help draw hockey fans back in.