Calgarians showed great fanaticism for Canada’s spot in the FIFA World Cup, and their excitement bled into skyrocketing attendance at pubs that were willing to open early.
Canada’s first appearance in the World Cup in 36 years sparked so much excitement that local pubs have struggled to accommodate fans. Jamesons Irish Pub was fully booked by the time Canada played their second game.
“We still had people coming down and we just had to turn them away. We had nowhere for them to sit,” said Mike Roy, manager of Jamesons’ location in Brentwood.
Jameson staff announced that they would open their doors at 8 a.m. to accommodate customers who wished to view Canada’s game against Croatia at 9 a.m.
The passion to cheer for Canada was so widespread that many, like Roy, struggled to find a Canada’s FIFA jersey in stores.
“I didn’t want to wear my hockey jersey, because that’s not quite right, in my opinion, but when I got to work, that’s literally all you saw,” said Roy.
Whether it was hockey jerseys, or simply jerseys that were red and white, fans were eager to show their support for Canada. This was the case for Brennan O’Yeung, a visitor to Jamesons who wore a red and white English Premier League jersey.
“It’s really great to see Canada have representation on the world stage and it gives me hope for a lot of other sports that have grassroots in Canada,” said O’Yeung, a badminton player and a business graduate from the University of Calgary.
Other bars in Calgary welcomed early-bird guests during the World Cup. The Ship & Anchor bar on 17th Ave, and Bottlescrew Bill’s on 10th Ave S.W., opened at 8:30 a.m. to accommodate guests eager to watch Canada’s match against Croatia.
The heightened fervor to watch Canada’s games was short lived. While many were excited for this unprecedented event, the roots of passion for this sport are still green in Canada.
“It’s a different story in Europe. It’s all about your game. It’s all about your team. Soccer is life,” said Roy. “It’s definitely ingrained in [European] communities a lot more, and so, they’ll come out and support their team even when they’re down or potentially about to go out. Whereas, unfortunately, we didn’t see that with Canada.”
When Canada’s chances of advancing passed the group stages plummeted, business at these pubs diminished drastically. According to Roy, Canada’s third World Cup game saw more staff in attendance than guests.
It’s really great to see Canada have representation on the world stage and it gives me hope for a lot of other sports that have grassroots in Canada. -O’Yeung.
The World Cup games are being hosted in Doha, Qatar, which is 10 time zones ahead of Alberta. If Calgarians wish to watch World Cup games, they will have to tune in with their morning cup of coffee, as the earliest games begin at 8 a.m. local time.