What do Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have in common? They’re all letting bars serve booze during the men’s gold medal hockey game Sunday morning.
That makes B.C. the only Western Canadian province refusing to let Team Canada fans raise a glass during the much-anticipated 4 a.m. match against Sweden.
B.C. Attorney General Suzanne Anton confirmed Thursday that establishments will be allowed to open their doors for the game so long as beer, wine and spirits remain strictly off-limits.
“Twenty-four hour liquor is problematic,” Anton said. “We haven’t permitted that in the past and we’re not going to make that change now.”
A handful of Vancouver bar owners are planning to take advantage of the relaxed rules and open at 4 a.m., hoping to recoup their costs with cover charges in the neighbourhood of $15.
Others, like Yaggers co-owner Trevor Poirier, aren’t taking the risk.
“As much as we’d love to, unfortunately it’s not worth it as a small businessman to bring in the staff when we cannot serve alcohol,” Poirier said.
“If we got a last-minute reprieve tomorrow, my partners and I would come down and serve ourselves.”
Anton said there are too many considerations that go along with extended hours, and that the availability of beer won’t make or break anyone’s morning.
“I think what’s going to make everyone happy is when Canada wins the gold,” she said.
Team Canada picked off the U.S. men’s team Friday morning, securing a spot in the gold medal game.
Shortly after the victory, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission agreed to let any establishment already licensed to serve at 10 a.m. tap their kegs early for the final match, which starts at 5 a.m. in the province.
The Commission tweeted that the exemption was automatic and there is “no need to apply.”
Bars in Saskatchewan and Manitoba will be serving when the game starts at 6 a.m. local time, as they will in Toronto when the puck drops.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where the game starts at 6 a.m. local time, did the same.
The City of Toronto extended drinking hours for the 7 a.m. puck drop in Ontario, though Ottawa refused to allow the exemption.