All happy when ‘Nucks on playoff run

Canadian Tire sales representatives Simon Cudby

Canadian Tire sales representatives Simon Cudby

There’s a noise on the street, the Vancouver Canucks playoff tickets are the hottest in town and the team is making the places that offer a piece of playoff excitement rock.

Every time the Canucks win a playoff game or advance to the next round, the bag wagon of supporters hungry for a piece of the fun gets bigger, which means bigger sales for those in the business.

“It’s huge for us, better than Christmas,” said Cheryl Sahota, at Blue Line Sports in Haney Place Mall.

Sahota said sales of Canucks sweaters, hats, trinkets and T-shirts, usually builds with each playoff round the Canucks manage to win.

“This year it’s gone the other way,” said Sahota.

The first playoff round, in which the team tangled with their nemesis, the Chicago Black Hawks, saw brisk sales. “Everybody was just on the bandwagon. I think people had a lot of faith in this team, this time around.” But after that, sales tailed off, she noted.

Canucks memorabilia accounts for about 70 per cent of the store’s sales most of the year, except during the summer slowdown, when B.C. Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps paraphernalia pick up.

Canucks jerseys, the ones with orca whale on the front, are still the most popular, and those with Burrows and Kesler on the back are the favourites.

When Henrik and Daniel Sedin stumbled in the first and second round of the playoffs, sales of those sweaters slowed, but now that the twins have picked up their games and got a few goals against the San Jose Sharks, jerseys with their names are becoming more popular.

The Johnny Canuck logo, which features the lumberjack wielding a hockey stick, was popular two years ago, then faded, but seem to be coming back when it comes to T-shirt designs, Sahota notes.

Game nights are better than ever at the Jolly Coachman Pub in Pitt Meadows, with the Canucks still in the hunt for the cup.

The place is usually busy, but when a Canucks game is on every second night, “we’re full to the rafters.

“It’s been great for us. It seems the farther they go, the more people get into it. We hope they go all the way,” said manager Bruce McGregor.

On game nights, customers also get a chance to win something they can take home – a jersey bearing the name and number of one of the team. One is given away every game night, McGregor said.

The playoff enthusiasm also helps counteract the business downturn from last July’s introduction of the HST and the tougher drinking and driving rules now in place in B.C.

However, the pub offers the A Safe Ride service, in which patrons can get a ride home and have someone drive home their car as well, McGregor says.

“They’re being smarter. They’re getting rides, they’re getting cabs.”

At Canadian Tire, owner Bryan Hutton reports healthy sales of Canuck-ware, though no particular item is flying off the shelves.

“It’s sort of so-so. The car flags are a passe item, maybe.”

Compared with previous years, “there’s definitely not the numbers of vehicles with flags on them now.”

But Canuck clothes are selling well and the orca logo is the most popular when it comes to jersey designs, though for car flags, “it’s all over the map.”

Hutton said each time the team has moved to the next round, he anticipated a big jump in sales, but it hasn’t happened yet. If the team manages to get into the final, “at this point, we’re not sure if we’ll get the big rush.”

But suppliers have their presses and designs ready to pump out championship T-shirts and jerseys at a moment’s notice if the team wins the sacred prize, the Stanley Cup.