Glenn Jensen of Legends Pub says “people are just crazy each game,” and they’re spending, too, with estimates that a Canuck playoff game can mean an additional $1.5 million revenue to the food service industry.

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To understand how excited the sports bar industry is about the potential of a lengthy Vancouver Canucks playoff run, consider that Glenn Jensen of Legends Pub in Richmond equates it to having a “Super Bowl every other night”. 

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“People are just crazy each game,” said Jensen, who has been a Legends owner from the start, helping it transform from Woody’s Nightclub in 1994. “And each round it will get crazier. 

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“We will be absolutely ballistic in here until they lose out, and then no one will care. This town is 100 per cent a Canuck town. If the Canucks lose, then the interest in the playoffs just dies.”

To add a little mathematics to what Jensen is saying, B.C. Restaurant and Foodservice Association president and CEO Ian Tostenson says his group estimates that a single Canuck playoff game can mean an additional $1.5 million revenue to the bar, pub and restaurant industry in the province.

The association tracked trends at six different establishments during a past Canuck playoff run. They found that when the Canucks scored a goal there was a spike in food and beverage purchases. A Vancouver win had people staying longer and ordering more, and a loss led to a mass settling of bills and heading for exits.

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It’s not surprising. It still remains testimony for why folks like Tostenson have a vested interest in Canucks success this spring.

“What this does is give everybody a psychological kick to go out and enjoy themselves and spend a little bit of money, even though things are tight right now,” Tostenson said. “It’s a chance to experience that hope and that euphoria and everything that goes with it.”

This first round showdown with the Nashville Predators marks Vancouver’s first playoff appearance since 2020. That was in the midst of COVID pandemic. The Western Conference playoffs were played in a bubble in Edmonton. The Canucks haven’t been in the playoffs with the world wide open since 2015. They lost in the first round.

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Vancouver hasn’t won a round outside of the COVID playoffs since 2011, when they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins and lost in Game 7 on home ice. Jensen received two tickets for Game 7 from a supplier but gave them to a family member, saying that he didn’t want to leave Legends shorthanded and, frankly, he “was having so much fun at the pub on game nights anyway.”

That was the Canucks’ first visit to the final since losing to the New York Rangers in 1994. Jensen and his partners had changed over their business to a pub in time for that postseason. His wife Michelle was pregnant during that playoff run and watched games from home, but she would call Jensen at the pub after Vancouver goals just to get a little sampling of the atmosphere. 

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“She’d call just to listen to how noisy it was,” Jensen recalls. 

There are more than a few businesses hoping for the a similar extended playoff stay and all that goes with it this time around. 

Pat Quinn’s Restaurant and Bar general manager Sue Carlile says a Canuck playoff run would be “an enormous revenue maker,” for the industry across the board because “people like to watch these type of games in groups and fun settings.”

The late Pat Quinn was the coach of the 1994 Canucks team. He died in November 2014. The restaurant opened in Tsawwassen a year later, which means it missed the last traditional playoffs appearance for the Canucks by a few months.

Quinn’s is more restaurant than bar, and Carlile admits that their game-day presentation remains a work in progress for these playoffs. The venue has “lots of neat hockey regalia,” to borrow a turn of phrase from her. 

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Jason Forbes, who is the president and COO of the Tap and Barrel Group, says that Canuck playoff games can lead to a 20- to 30-per-cent increase in sales on a given night.

“It’s really about the energy it creates,” he added. “The crowd can go up or down depending on which way the score is going. But overall, it’s just a fun environment.” 

Earls Restaurants vice-president of operations Eric Holland says, “We anticipate it will be a busy playoff season for us,” and is pledging lounge areas in their restaurants will “have the volume turned up” for all Canuck games. 

Boston Pizza restaurants have an “all-new Playoffs Menu,” and they have put together a promotional campaign featuring Canuck super fans The Green Men and some of their counterparts backing clubs in other Canadian NHL cities for Team Up for the Cup. A Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since the 1993 Montreal Canadiens, and Boston Pizza is hoping that fans across the country can “put their allegiances aside — temporally — for the greater good,” according to Boston Pizza director of marketing Niels van Oyen.

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