Bars across Canada get set to toast the big game
Rubab Abid, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, February 22, 2014 4:32PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 22, 2014 10:20PM EST
As Canadian hockey fans gear up for the big gold-medal game early Sunday morning, many will be skipping the coffee and heading straight for a tall, cold beer with their bacon and eggs.
Many bars across the country are opening their doors early on Sunday, getting set to serve rowdy fans as they take in the big game.
With the gold-medal game set to start at 8 a.m. on the east coast, there was never any doubt that bars would open early In Sidney Crosby’s hometown of Halifax, N.S.
“Well, the doors open at 5 (a.m.). I expect we’ll fill up by 6,” said local bar server Kristin McCall.
“They come in their pyjamas, that’s no problem,” she added.
Bars and restaurants in Toronto were given the go-ahead to sell alcohol as early as 7 a.m. after city council unanimously passed a motion on the matter Thursday. In the rest of Ontario, however, bars can open early but they can't serve alcohol.
Bars in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, -- where it will be 5 a.m. when the puck drops -- also decided to loosen their liquor laws for the big game.
Many sports fans welcomed the news, with some stating that not drinking on the big day would actually be unpatriotic.
“If you’re not drinking at six in the morning on Sunday, you are not Canadian; you are not a hockey fan,” said one fan.
Jenelle Dufault, a manager at Calgary's Central Social Hall, says it's going to be a hectic Saturday night into Sunday morning.
"We serve until 2 a.m. and then we'll close at 3 a.m. We'll clean up, then open at 4 and then we'll start serving alcohol at 5 a.m.," she says.
While thousands of hockey fans look forward to packing their local watering holes in the wee hours of the morning, others Canucks are not so lucky. Perhaps as a cautionary move in wake of hockey riots that gripped Vancouver during the 2011 NHL playoffs, B.C. has decided not to extend their bar hours for Sunday’s game.
Many in the province remain leery of mixing booze with a big game, prompting some owners to say they won't open their establishments Sunday if they can’t serve alcohol.
"As much as we'd love to, unfortunately it's just not worth it as a small businessman to bring in the staff when we cannot serve alcohol,” says Trevor Poirier, owner of Vancouver bar Yaggers, adding that he's sure he could fill his bar if he were allowed to serve alcohol.
The Library Square Public House is one of the few bars in Vancouver that plans to be open, hoping that heart-stopping hockey and a hot breakfast will bring people in.
"Unfortunately, people can't have a drink and celebrate like they can in other provinces but we're gonna make the most of it," says manager Damon Holowchuk. "We'll open the doors and do our best to have a good time even though it's pretty early on a Sunday."
Many hockey fans in B.C. say they'll stay up all night to watch the game, and Holowchuk his bar will be ready to help them cheer our team on.
"Everybody deserves every four years to stay up past their bedtime," he says.
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