Do you prefer to huddle around your TV with a group of buddies and a pizza? Or perhaps sharing the game with a companion over a meal in a restaurant is more your style? What about immersing yourself in the energized ambience of a pub? Or do you get a kick out of watching the Canucks on the big screen?
Over the course of the 2006-07 regular season, the Canucks play 17 games available exclusively through pay-per-view. Starting on October 16th (versus the Oilers) and finishing on April 5th (versus the Avalanche), Canucks TV gives you a chance to watch exclusive game broadcasts while enjoying several added features, such as player profiles, off-ice interviews, panel discussions, and stats analyses - all without commercial interruption.
You just need to decide where you want to watch the games.
HOME SWEET HOME
If you own a cable box, Canucks TV is only a few quick taps of the remote control away. After ordering the game, you can settle into your favourite chair, crank up the volume, and watch the Canucks wage war against one of their division rivals. Or perhaps you're more interested in scrutinizing Todd Bertuzzi's return to GM Place on January 7th. If you aren't lucky enough to have tickets to the game, Canucks TV offers the next best thing.
"We put the games on at my folks' place on the island," says Devin Carrier, a 28-year-old software consultant living in Kitsilano. "There's my brother-in-law, my dad, myself, and whoever else just happens to be in the neighbourhood. It's almost like a weekly thing - always, always a good time."
For those of you with "12:00" still flashing on the front of your DVD player, don't worry - once the cable box is set up, ordering a game involves nothing more than following a set of simple instructions on an on-screen menu.
"It's just a matter of having a couple of pops ready and turning the game on at the right time," explains Carrier.
When the puck drops, it's time to let the cheering begin - not to mention the convulsive victory dancing, the arm-flailing high-fiving, the shrieking at the TV screen, and countless other errant activities that civilization has worked long and hard to eradicate from your public life.
"It's almost more special, I'd say, if it's a pay-per-view game," says Carrier. "You get a commitment out of the people watching the game with you. You get people over and it's just a really good time. It's an event."
If you want to get out of the house to watch the game over a meal, you won't have to go far to find a restaurant airing the pay-per-view schedule. Several casual restaurant chains throughout the province, such as Boston Pizza, Cactus Club, Earls, the Keg, Milestone's, Moxie's, Swiss Chalet, and White Spot, have bought into the Canucks TV experience.
"It drives traffic into our location," says Grant Dawson, Manager of Coal Harbour White Spot (1616 West Georgia Street). "We turn the volume up, and we offer half-price wings. It makes for a fun atmosphere."
Earls Paramount (905 Hornby Street) also gets into the Canucks TV experience. Its staff members wear Canucks jerseys, and if the game is especially significant - i.e. a tilt against the ever-hated Avalanche - they join together in singing the national anthem before the initial puck-drop.
"It's pretty exciting," says Alexandra McLean, Earls' assistant night leader. "We fill up really early. People are standing in the stairwells, waiting to get a seat."
ANOTHER ROUND, PLEASE
Finding a pub with Canucks TV isn't hard - in fact, finding one without it is the challenge. For a culture that goes gaga over hockey and beer, pubs are clearly the venue of choice. They're decked with LCD TVs and projection screens, providing food and drink specials, with an atmosphere second only to that of GM Place. In downtown Vancouver, several pubs stand out for their support of the Canucks pay-per-view package.
First and foremost is the Shark Club (180 West Georgia Street), a standing-room-only staple on game nights. Doolin's Irish Pub (654 Nelson Street), Kingston Tap House & Grille (755 Richards Street), the Morrissey (1227 Granville Street), Soho Bar & Grill (1762 Davie Street), and Yaletown Brewing Company (#202 - 1110 Hamilton Street) also provide Canucks fans with lively locales for watching pay-per-view games.
Like many pubs on the pay-per-view circuit, Doolin's Irish Pub coordinates game-night giveaways of Canucks swag, including autographed prints, jerseys, T-shirts, hats, and banners. The pub's "we-are-all-Canucks" passion is made further evident by the life-sized hockey figurines mounted on the building's awning. The pub is currently refurbishing the tableau, modernizing the forwards' jerseys and modelling the goalie after the Canucks' new netminder Roberto Luongo.
"We're rooting for the Canucks, that's for sure," says Christine Van, Director of Promotions and Marketing at Doolin's. "We really love the Canucks."
LARGER THAN LIFE
If you're a "go-big-or-go-home" kind of person, you might want to check out a pay-per-view game on the silver screen. More and more theatres around the province have begun to offer Canucks TV. The trend was started by Landmark Cinemas, which shows pay-per-view games on its screens in Abbotsford, Fort St. John, Kelowna, and Nanaimo. Responding to fans' growing interest in the big-screen experience, Cineplex, Colossus, and Silvercity have since jumped on the bandwagon.
"It's good for families that want to watch the Canucks game and can't get it at home," explains Amela Cheng, General Manager of Landmark Grand 10 Cinemas in Kelowna (#110 - 948 McCurdy Road). "We get lots of families, and quite a few seniors, and some of the middle crowd, too."
Landmark Grand Theatre in Abbotsford (#250 - 32500 South Fraser Way) adds to the experience by giving away Canucks merchandise during the intermissions. The winners of the draws receive the usual Canucks loot, as well as newly released DVDs, which only adds to the theatre's buzz.
"People cheer when the Canucks score," says Melissa Wright, Manager of Landmark Grand Theatre. "You know, it's 'Shoot! Shoot!' People get right into it."
What more could you ask for?