Retailer fears hockey-fan backlash 0
(24 HOURS PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)
Baseball merchandise outsold hockey merchandise last Christmas for the first time ever at Vancity Sports, where boxes of unsold Canucks jerseys have lined the stockroom ever since the NHL lockout began more than 100 days ago.
“Baseball doesn’t outsell hockey in summer,” storeowner John Czvelka said with a half-hearted chuckle.
He won’t be ordering anything for now, even though it looks like the season will kick off later this month.
Going forward, Czvelka is most concerned fans will take out their frustration with the league by boycotting merchandise.
“The (NHL’s) licensing agreement is usually the same no matter how many (items) you sell,” he said.
“They’re not hurting the team or the league with that — they’re only hurting retailers.”
But Charles Gauthier, executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement Association, said he’s confident fans in this “hockey-crazed town” will be back spending their dollars at shops and sports bars when the puck drops.
He noted previous Canucks home games have injected an average of more than $1 million into the downtown economy. More than 20 home games were cancelled as a result of the lockout.
“A semblance of a season rather than none at all is a great outcome,” Gauthier said.