Comox Valley bars feeling slight dip in business with no NHL games on TV

It's hockey season — but there's no NHL hockey on TV as long as team owners and players fail to see eye to eye at the bargaining table.

BILLY D'S OWNER Deana Simkin is one of several Comox Valley pub owners who's noticed a dip in business due to the NHL lockout.

BILLY D'S OWNER Deana Simkin is one of several Comox Valley pub owners who's noticed a dip in business due to the NHL lockout.

It’s hockey season — but there’s no NHL hockey on TV as long as team owners and players fail to see eye to eye at the bargaining table.

As long as there’s an impasse, fans are left to ponder other options come Saturday when Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts normally air.

The Record asked local bar owners what they think of the lockout. Is there a noticeable drop in business? Or is it business as usual, with regulars showing up regardless of hockey?

“There is a bit of a drop, and that’s only normal because guys quite enjoy coming out to the bars and watching the games,” Whistle Stop owner Barry Van Dusen said. “Everybody’s upset because there is no hockey.

“The CFL is almost done and the NFL is going to be done soon, so what are we going to watch? Tiddlywinks?”

Van Dusen said the Courtenay pub has its share of regulars who might stick around a little longer if a game is on the screen.

“We do have a lot of Vancouver Canucks’ fans,” he said.

At Billy D’s in downtown Courtenay, most patrons will walk through the doors regardless of hockey. Games are a bonus, says owner Deana Simkin.

“They do stay longer and have a couple more drinks, so it might be affecting it (business) slightly,” said Simkin, noting playoffs are a busier time. “Once in a while, if get close to the final we’ll do a couple of specials. But people will come in just to watch the game. They’re happy that there’s six TVs in here.”

Like the Whistle Stop, Billy D’s gets its share of blue Canuck jerseys during hockey season.

Valori Schaefer says the situation is similar at the Griffin.

“We always did better when big games were on, but I don’t think it affected it for the regular season,” said Schaefer, office manager at the Comox pub.

Playoff games, however, promised a “big night” at the Griffin.

“That will make a big difference. We’ve got big screen TVs all over the place hooked into our sound system. It was always a big event. But for regular season, it’s not something that drew people.”

The Westerly Hotel’s food and beverage manager David Branigan is new to his position and to the Valley, in the same period the hockey season would have started.

Which makes it challenging to compare historical sales.

“It’s impossible for me to gauge on the draw power from last year,” said Branigan, noting business inevitably increases when the Canucks are playing.

“I think anybody that’s in the pub business in B.C. is missing that energy. It’s part of being Canadian and part of the pub business.”

When Branigan managed the Shark Club in Victoria, he said the Canucks were far and away the No. 1 draw.

“They are a key component of the pub business,” he said. “We’re looking forward to some of the announcements (regarding the NHL labour dispute) this week, hopefully.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

LUSH Valley’s partnership with School District 71 this past year helped feed 200 students and families through the Good Food Box program. Screenshot, LUSH Valley/Comox Valley Schools video
LUSH Valley-Comox Valley School Good Food Boxes fed 200 families in 2020

Non-profit organization is looking for new ways to collaborate with school district

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The CVRD building in Courtenay.
Comox Valley organizations in need receive funding

The Comox Valley Regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has approved $55,000 in… Continue reading

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A virtual public hearing for a rezoning application for a Comox property was held on March 3. Black Press file photo
No comments at public hearing for Anderton Road rezoning application

The virtual public hearing was held on March 3 for the Comox properties

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read