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Okanagan pubs hoping to cash in on Canucks-Oilers playoff series

Canucks-Oilers showdown expected to pack Kamloops pubs
Kamloops pubs gear up for the second round for the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Vancouver Canucks host the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday.

Excitement building for the Vancouver Canucks’ upcoming playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers could be good news for Kamloops pubs.

The Pacific Division rivals will be facing off in the postseason for the first time since 1992, and local pubs say they’re expecting the playoff series to bring out fans from both of the franchises.

The Canucks are B.C.’s NHL team, but the Oilers also have a strong following in the Tournament Capital.

Fox’n Hounds Pub owner Al Deacon, a longtime Canucks fan, is expecting the series to bring in plenty of patrons.

“The first series was decent, we expect each round to escalate and get more and more exciting,” he said.

“We're excited. There are lots of Oilers fans, there's numerous Canucks fans. We're just hoping everybody comes out and helps us cheer them on to victory.”

Cory Krecsy, a bartender at Bailey’s Pub, said he thinks the split is 50/50 between Oilers and Canucks fans

“Edmonton and Vancouver both have a pretty good fan base here in Kamloops. So I think it'll be really exciting and people will want to come out and watch it — be part of the excitement,” he said.

Krecsy said while Bailey’s doesn’t market itself as a sports bar, the atmosphere and community are what brings fans out on game days.

“They want to want to be in an atmosphere where there's more people and kind of give it like a gametime feel, instead of just sitting at home and doing it,” he said.

Deacon agreed, saying part of the excitement is the camaraderie between fans — and it couldn't come at a better time.

“Our industry needs it. Hospitality has taken a bit of a kick through COVID and it's been tough to bounce back,” he said.

“So this is great for for our industry and for the economy.”

Both Deacon and Krecsy said they will be cheering on the Canucks when the puck is dropped for Game 1 at 7 p.m. Wednesday.