Rohit Khanna, district manager at Horizon Sports and Street Wear in Abbotsford, is looking forward to the Canucks’ playoff run.

Rohit Khanna, district manager at Horizon Sports and Street Wear in Abbotsford, is looking forward to the Canucks’ playoff run.

Abby businesses cheer on Canucks

Post-season play a boon for local bars, restaurants and specialty stores

Canucks fans weren’t the only ones celebrating the team’s playoff-clinching victory last week. Abbotsford businesses directly impacted by having the home team playing post-season hockey also have lots to cheer about.

In Sevenoaks Shopping Centre, Rohit Khanna, a district manager at Horizon Sports and Street Wear, knows that having the Canucks in the playoffs can have a positive effect on the bottom line.

Last season, the Canucks missed the playoffs for the first time in six years.

“No playoff sales… that hurt,” he said.

Since the Canucks officially gained a berth in the playoffs he’s already noticed an uptick in the sale of Canucks merchandise in advance of the first-round series against the Calgary Flames, which starts tonight at 7 p.m.

“It will pick up when it gets close to the 15th of April,” he said last week.  “New and existing fans get a chance to experience the playoff atmosphere.”

Popular Canucks items include car flags, hats, jersey and T-shirts, said Khanna, who remembers the magical Stanley Cup run in 2011 when Vancouver came within one game of hoisting the cup for the first time in club history.

“It was amazing. Everyone was excited.”

Back then, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Alexandre Burrows, and Ryan Kesler jerseys were among the hottest sellers.

During the 2011 run, the store eventually sold out of every Canuck jersey and ran low on hats and T-shirts.

To prepare for this year’s playoffs he’s already ordered more stock. As always, the Canucks home blue jersey is always a favourite, and some newcomers’ names have been added to the list of the most popular jerseys, including rookie Bo Horvat, free agent signee Radim Vrbata and goaltender Eddie Lack.

Josh Back, president of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, knows what playoff hockey means to a number of local businesses, especially those in hospitality industry.

“Fans enjoy going to our local restaurants and bars to watch the Canucks play, while eating and responsibly enjoying a few beverages. It’s very exciting to celebrate with other members of our community.”

Laura Clayton, general manager of Townhall Abbotsford, noted:  “We are really excited the Canucks are in the payoffs. We hope to see a lot of fans coming out for weekday games, and of course we will see a lot more people in jerseys and sticking around for the games on weekends. We are hoping the Canucks make it all the way to the finals, the farther they make it into the payoffs the busier and busier we will get.”

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