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'It's electric': Vancouver gets hyped for Game 1 of the playoffs

Vancouver Canucks players gather at centre ice to raise their sticks to the fans after defeating the Calgary Flames during their final NHL regular season home hockey game, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Vancouver Canucks players gather at centre ice to raise their sticks to the fans after defeating the Calgary Flames during their final NHL regular season home hockey game, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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The Vancouver Canucks are about to play their first playoff game on home ice in nearly 10 years, and the hype in the city is real.

The Pacific Division title winners are going up against the Nashville Predators in round one, the first time the two teams will face off since the 2011 playoffs. The puck drops at Rogers Arena at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Head Coach Rick Tocchet had just one instruction for fans who will be in attendance—“be loud.”

“You can tell that people are getting into it,” he said at a media availability Sunday. “From what I’ve heard in the past, this building in the playoffs is one of the best rocking…I hear Vancouver’s very loud. For me, the message is be loud, encourage the guys.”

“I can’t wait to be in the environment and see the crowd going crazy here,” forward Dakota Joshua told reporters Sunday.

Playoff fever is also rising outside the rink. The SkyTrain will be transformed into a ‘Nucks fan club on home game days throughout the tournament, with team PA announcer Al Murdoch voicing the stops at select stations.

Restaurant and bar owners across the city are excited the Canucks are back in the playoffs – especially those with establishments within walking distance to the arena.

At Memphis Blues Barbeque House on Robson Street, management expects to see a rush of fans grabbing dinner on their way to the game – and a spike of takeout orders for people hosting watch parties at home.

“Today, we’ve got reservations for customers from Kelowna and Whistler who are coming to see the Canucks play, so it does help the business a lot,” said manager Jonatas Sardinha. “Robson Street gets full of fans as well which is very nice. It’s electric.”

He said he and his staff will be cheering on the Canucks – and hoping for a deep playoff run.

Local politicians are also getting on the hype train, with Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim writing on social media that he’s “stoked” to see the Canucks back in the post-season.

“Wishing our players good luck as they rep our city!” he wrote.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West announced that city hall will be lit up in green and blue during Sunday’s game, and that the PoCo Community Centre is hosting a watch party.

Tickets going for hundreds on resale market

Any Canucks fan hoping to buy a ticket for Sunday’s sold out game at the last minute had to look to the resale market.

On sites like StubHub, four hours before faceoff, the cheapest available tickets were $299 each for seats in the corner of the upper bowl.

Ticket broker Kingsley Bailey of Vancouver Ticket and Tour Service was quoting people the same price, but said better seats near centre ice in the lower bowl were going for close to $700 per ticket.

The face value price of those seats in the upper bowl was $248 – not much less than the resale price on Sunday.

Bailey said he has been getting calls from people hoping to sell tickets but finding the resale value is not as high as they anticipated when they purchased them.

“They’re finding a challenge that they’re not getting the numbers they thought they would get,” Bailey said. “I’ve seen lower bowl seats advertised for $1,100. Nobody’s paying that.”

Based on his experience, he believes fans are waiting to see how the Canucks play in the first game before deciding if they want to spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on playoff tickets.

Canucks fan Spooner Derrick is visiting the city from northern B.C. and is considering buying tickets to either the first or second games of the Canucks series with Nashville.

“It’s been a while so it’s going to be a good one, I believe,” he said, referring to the nine-year playoff hockey drought at Rogers Arena.

In the end he decided not to spend the money for game one tickets, but said he might change his mind for the second game of the series on Tuesday.

“I will consider that. There’s a pretty good chance. I’ll wait and see what the outcome is tonight (Sunday) and then decide,” he said.

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