Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and Jacob Markstrom aren’t the only ones excited for the 2022-23 NHL Calgary Flames season.
So are local bars and restaurants in Calgary.
It’s no secret that Flames fans are passionate bunch, but not everyone can go to the game in person.
That doesn’t mean Flames fans don’t support their team at local establishments, such as Home and Away.
Jay Farah, manager at Home and Away, says business on weekdays isn’t as busy when there are no hockey games, compared to when the Flames’ season is on.
“We definitely see people that I usually wouldn’t see. Which is something that’s really very strange to me because, at Home and Away, we definitely do get regulars, but we also get a lot of new faces, which is definitely because of the Flames game.”
Whether it’s the Battle of Alberta, the Toronto Maple Leafs or even the Seattle Kraken, fans swarm bars and restaurants, creating the “C” of Red across the city.
“We’ve got almost every table filled because of the game,” Farah said.
According to Farah, there are three pushes that Home and Away experiences on a Flames game night. The pre-game push, the fans who camp and watch the game there and then the boisterous fans who come back to celebrate a Flames victory.
Of course, as the season progresses, the crowd becomes larger and larger and Home and Away is very excited about the influx of business.
Whether it’s drinks and appetizers after work, before the game, on the way to the Dome, or customers flashing the red all game long, Calgary bars and restaurants are just as excited for the season as Flames fans are.
“I’m not much of a sports fan, but I like to go out and be a part of a vibrant city; it’s fun,” says new Calgarian, Ashley Fox.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no fans at the Dome, no people at the bars and a ghost town in the downtown core, but now that life is more-or-less back to normal, fans are making up for the time lost.
“I don’t think people really understand how the Flames really affect business,” Farah said.
It’s no question that the Calgary Flames have one of the best fan bases in the NHL, but their success throughout the season has a direct impact on local businesses.
According to Farah, business jumps about 23 per cent on game days compared to days without a game. Additionally, the bar stays busier longer—instead of the “rush” dying down after dinner time, they are busy until last call.
Like all Flames fans, Farah is excited about the post-season, but during the season, the Battle of Alberta draws the most attention.
“Battle of Alberta, that’s nuts,” he said. “Those games go crazy all the time. If we see Calgary- Edmonton, just know, it’s going be a busy day.”