Canucks watch parties unlikely, but Vancouver yet to announce plans

The Vancouver Canucks are heading back to the postseason. Rogers Arena will host a Stanley Cup playoff game for the first time since 2015, and Canucks fans -- along with local bars and restaurants -- are ready.

As excitement builds among Vancouver Canucks fans for the team’s first playoff run in four seasons, many have been left wondering whether they’ll be able to see the games at an outdoor watch party in their city.

“I think it’s a great idea, it happens in other cities, we should have it too,” one fan told CityNews.

“I don’t see why not, (tickets) are very expensive, I think it’s a good idea,” another fan said.

However, as of right now, it’s not looking good for anyone hoping to catch a game outside of Vancouver.

In statements to CityNews, the cities of Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Abbotsford, and Coquitlam all said they decided against hosting outdoor watch parties for the first round of the playoffs. None of the cities gave a reason for not hosting the events.

The situation in Vancouver appears to be less definitive, where both the city and the Canucks organization have been tight-lipped about their plans. However, there’s no confirmation yet whether something is in the works.

“It would be a blast if they did,” said Thomas Drance, co-host of CanucksTalk on Sportsnet 650. “We know how passionate this city is about its hockey, and come playoff time, this could be one of the most interesting, colourful, and exciting places to watch hockey in North America.”

But Drance adds he understands the hesitation from some municipalities due to past riots associated with Canucks games.

“You’ve got the legacy of 1994 and 2011, and some of the security risks that stemmed from the mass public gatherings surrounding this hockey team,” Drance said.

A Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens’ 1993 win. According to a recent Angus Reid poll, the majority of Canadians think Toronto and Edmonton have the best chances of ending our nation’s 31-year drought.

But Vancouverites beg to differ.

“That’s just not true, simple as that, because the Canucks are going to take home the cup,” a fan of the team told CityNews.

“Toronto likes to think they are Canada’s team, but out in the West, we know the Canucks are Canada’s team,” another fan said.

The Red Card Sports bar in downtown Vancouver is ready for big crowds to come in to watch this season’s playoffs and give the business a much-needed boost.

“We are really excited to have a full house and have our regulars and fans coming in,” said bar manager Vanessa Rizzo.

“What better place to watch the game than at a sports bar with lots of fans?”

More information about outdoor watch parties in Vancouver are expected to emerge later this week, pending the conclusion of the NHL season and announcement of the Canucks’ opponent and schedule for round one.

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