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As the Canucks go, so does the hospitality industry in Nelson

There were plenty of smiles to go around at Finley's Bar and Grill after the Vancouver Canucks advanced to the next round of the NHL playoffs Tuesday with a 2-1 overtime win over Chicago. — Bruce Fuhr photo

By Bruce Fuhr, The Nelson Daily Sports

There are people walking down Vernon Street wearing Canucks jerseys.

There are cars cruising through Heritage City flying Canuck mini flags from outside their side windows.

They all can breathe a little easier now that ‘Nucks have finally exorcized their demons from the Windy City, defeating Chicago 2-1 in overtime in game seven of the Western Conference quarter final Tuesday at the Rogers Centre.

But those with more to lose should the home side have gone down, other than Henrik, Daniel, Roberto and Ryan, is the B.C. hospitality industry that sees — some have it pegged at $3 Million a game — a dramatic increase in revenue every time the Vancouver Canucks play in the post season.

“We defintely see an increase on playoff nights when the Canucks are playing,” said Rob Little, food and beverage manager at the New Grand Hotel in Nelson.

“So we’re happy the playoffs are here.”

Kitty corner to the New Grand is Finley’s Bar and Grill, where the more Canuck games means a busier the night.

“When the Canucks are playing, certainly (business) has been better,” said Brent Holawaychuk, who along with Tanya Finley, own and operate the Vernon Street establishment.

The routine is the same at most establishments.

Prior to puck drop in most establishments throughout B.C., including Nelson, on game nights owners see the better tables in front of the big screen televisions begin to fill up.

Food and drink orders begin piling up in the kitchen and behind the bar as patrons slap on their own Carnac the Magnificent hats to begin prophesizing the outcome.

“Everyone’s very pumped,” said Holawaychuk when asked about the mood in the building on game nights.

So, how much revenue does hockey in Nelson produce?

“It’s definitely a good time of the year for the sports bar,” said Little.

“It’s five times busier when the Canucks are playing,” said Holawaychuk. “We’ve been having some of best turnouts when (Vancouver) is playing.”

“If the Canucks are in the playoffs revenue is definitely better,” Holawaychuk added. “But if the Canucks are out, or there’s no Canadian team left, business is down until we get to the Stanley Cup Finals.”

But there’s no time now to think about the negative.

After Canucks thrilling game seven win, thanks to a goal by Alex Burrows, it’s time to fill up the cooler and order up more wings for the next round of the playoffs.

Go Canucks Go!

sports@thenelsondaily.com