VANCOUVER – An estimated crowd of 70,000 to 100,000 people were in the downtown core for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final -- and many of them will now likely party into the early hours of Saturday morning after the Canucks beat the Boston Bruins 1-0.
By 3 p.m. local time, bars along Water Street in Gastown had significant lineups, and bar patios along Burrard Street were at capacity well before puck drop.
Georgia Street, one of the city's main arteries in to the downtown core, was shut down at noon on Friday to accommodate those who planned to watch the game on a large screen set up at the intersection of Georgia and Hamilton, outside of the CBC's Vancouver bureau.
Once the final buzzer sounded, three to four city blocks were jammed with fans taking in the game.
If the scene after Vancouver's 3-2 win in Game 2 win last Saturday night was any indication, traffic will not be getting through on Granville Street, in the city's popular entertainment district, until well into Saturday morning.
Canucks fans have been waiting 17 long years to see their team get back to the Stanley Cup Final, and coming on the heels of the 2010 Winter Olympics last February, have been using the Final run to re-create the festive atmosphere created by the Olympics.
Fans will pour into Rogers Arena by the thousands once again on Monday night to take in Game 6 on the big screen. Canucks Sports and Entertainment has opened the building to fans at $10 a ticket, with proceeds going to charity.
Games 3 and 4 sold out, and tickets were fetching over $100 on sites like Craigslist.
Many in Vancouver feel a Stanley Cup win will be bigger than the Olympic gold won by Canada last winter. It will be to no one's surprise that the celebration will be larger, and last longer, if the Canucks can cash in.
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There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.