Pubs aim for early morning hockey games to draw crowds
There's loads of Olympic action this weekend, but the main focus is sure to be mens' hockey as spectators hit downtown pubs to start the day with breakfast, hockey and maybe a beer. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
The play-by-play commentators’ words that “this is a journey” during Team Canada’s first game against Norway on Thursday also held true for Nick Bertoia.
With 15 patrons showing up for the 9 a.m. start to watch the beginning of Team Canada’s gold medal defence, Bertoia, the operations manager at Red Card, is hoping the turnout at the downtown sports bar will increase as the men’s Olympic hockey tournament goes on.
“You have to start from somewhere and what we’re looking for is traction and it’s good to have people in the building and have that move forward,” he said. “Obviously 90% of people have those nine to fives out there, but I find that you will find that exception being made to watch Canada play.”
Huddled around a table of Canada fans scarfing down breakfast, Phil Wardley found a way to mix business with pleasure – he turned the game into an excuse for a client meeting.
“This is work,” he joked during the first intermission. “I think Norway’s looking better than Canada right now but I think Canada is just jelling as a team.”
One table away, cell phone shop manager John Young enjoyed the benefits coming with being in charge and took a couple hours off to watch the game with a cup of coffee.
“I make the schedule,” he said through a wry smile.
Young said he tried to arrange a group of friends to join him, but the early, weekday start was an issue.
“The big factor is the time difference – 12 hours.”
Bertoia said the bar is hosting an event with the Canucks Autism Network this Sunday and felt the ability to serve liquor at 9 a.m. thanks to extended alcohol service hours through the duration of the Games, should help business.
Canada beat Norway 3-1 and will face Austria Friday at 9 a.m. Vancouver time.
Catch Canada’s next two games:
- 9 a.m. Friday against Austria
- 9 a.m. Sunday against Finland