Oilers playoff run good for Edmonton businesses

The Stanley Cup playoff games are creating good business at pubs and restaurants across Edmonton. The home games were good but there's hope the road games will mean even better business. Sarah Komadina has the details.

Edmonton businesses are cheering hard for the Edmonton Oilers, not just because they are fans but because it’s good for business.

Hudson’s on Whyte bartender Mark Robinson said the first two games in the series against the L.A. Kings, brought in customers, but it could be better.

People were heading to watch the game in person, and the plaza was also a popular spot. Robinson expects with away games more people will be drawn to pubs like his.

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“Sitting alone in your basement is kind of fun,” Robinson said. “But being out in public and feeling the energy of the crowd, and having it spill over into the streets, and going to work the next day and telling stories about where you were, who you met and the fun you had — that’s what it’s all about.”

While the playoffs are good for business, Game 2 proved that winning is even better.

“Game 1 didn’t have the outcome that we wanted to, but people still stuck around for maybe one or two (more drinks). On Wednesday night, (the Oilers) won in the way they did — people stuck around quite a bit longer and celebrated.”

After two years of COVID-19 closures and restrictions, hockey fans are bringing much needed business.

Old Strathcona Business Association executive director Cherie Klassen said the playoffs are helping businesses recover and bring life back to Whyte Avenue.

“Businesses are really needing to have a good summer season and this is an opportunity for businesses to get ahead of that, and create an environment to watch the game and celebrate afterwards,” Klassen said, noting the Oilers run in the Stanley Cup playoffs will bring more people out from watching games in their homes.

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“What we’ve seen and what we’ve heard from business owners and even guests people are anxious to celebrate and be social again, and hangout with their friends in a celebratory environment.”

The hope is the momentum will continue and lead to a battle of Alberta.

“It would cause me a lot of anxiety,” Robinson said. “I would definitely have to watch it under a weighted blanket and have my wife rub my temples.”

“But you know it’s going to be great for business, if we are able to make it that far and having Alberta just watching with baited breath.”

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