The NHL playoffs are well underway but unfortunately for Vancouver, the Canucks have missed the post-season. It feels like forever since the Canucks last missed the playoffs but ultimately it was a necessary wake up call for the team that had a lot of drama occur during the year. From the line fight with the Calgary Flames which got head coach John Tortorella suspended by the league and eventually fired to the all of the sudden shocking trade of franchise goalie Roberto Luongo.
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Now besides the organization itself, the city of Vancouver as a whole, and its economy have taken a rather hard hit with the absence of playoff action this spring.
Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant Association was quoted saying “We estimate that when we are in the playoffs, it’s about a million dollars a game”. To elaborate, Ian is saying that restaurants, local hotels, coffee shops, lounges, and bars make a million dollars in sales per playoff game. That extra million that is pumped into the local economy from every Canucks game goes a long way to help local individuals pay rent, university tuition, and other expensive living costs. You have for example a server who makes $100 in wages a shift and $300 in tips during just one of single Canucks playoff game. That is a ton of money to miss out on, and unfortunately some businesses have even had to cut back on employees due to the lack of business they are receiving. When you have an economy that is forced to lay off employees, other businesses that are not directly connected to the Canucks or sporsts are affected as well as a result of individuals having less money to spend, which means businesses see sale figures take a dip.
Another area of business experiencing a huge hit is the merchandise stores selling Canucks gear. With a franchise that seems so rocky and fragile at the moment fans have no idea what to expect so you can’t blame them for being hesitant to invest in a players jersey or t-shirt knowing they might not even be a Canuck come next season. During the Canucks 7 game losing streak heading into the Olympic break, John Czvelka of VanCity Sports said sales of Canucks merchandise were down 25 to 30 percent which is a substantial drop considering Canucks merchandise made up nearly 60 percent of the stores sales. He also stated that if it was not for the successful season of the Seattle Seahawks, he would have been doomed. He adds that that with the Canucks playoffs chances slipping slowly away with each loss, the months of April and May will be very slow, whereas if the Canucks were in the playoffs sales would be through the roof.
We can clearly see that no playoff hockey in Vancouver spells doom to many local businesses, and shops. When the Canucks are racking up wins, and playing an exciting brand of hockey fans are happy and want to go out to local restaurants and bars to enjoy a couple drinks while watching some hockey. Without playoff hockey, businesses take a huge hit and consider investing in a different local sports team, such as the Vancouver Whitecaps who are slowly on the rise(which is actually great).
Former Canucks owner Arthur Griffins believes that it could even get uglier before it gets better. “In order to make another step forward, they may have to step back for a bit,” said Griffiths.
Can businesses in Vancouver really afford another April and May next year with no playoff hockey? Let’s just hope for the sake of our local economy and suffering fans that President Trevor Linden has some quick success and quickly turns around a team whose championship window is still slightly open.
Written by: Hamed Amiri