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North Delta Canucks playoff parties to continue for series against Oilers

Event costs city about $10K per game, and the cost of adding a South Delta locale may be even more
More than 100 people came out to the North Delta Social Heart Plaza on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 to watch Game 2 of the Vancouver Canucks’ first-round series against the Nashville Predators. (James Smith/North Delta Reporter photo)

The City of Delta will continue hosting free viewing parties in North Delta as the Vancouver Canucks enter the second round of the NHL playoffs, but a second location in South Delta won’t materialize until round three — if it comes at all.

Since Game 1 against the Nashville Predators on April 21, the city has been putting on free, family-friendly outdoor screenings of every game at the North Delta Social Heart Plaza (11415 84th Avenue). The city has pledged to keep hosting the events for the duration of the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff run.

The events have proven to be a success, drawing upwards of 2,000 people to the plaza over the first five games of the Canucks’ first-round series against the Nashville Predators and a visit from team mascot Fin for Game 4 on April 28.

Coun. Dylan Kruger, whose motion on April 8 brought about the viewing parties, said at council Monday afternoon (May 6) that it’s been a pleasure to watch the games at the plaza and see the grow “from a smaller but mighty group in Game 1 all the way to Game 6 where there were hundreds and hundreds.”

“As far as I could see the plaza was completely full, which was great and I’m sure that will continue into the second round,” Kruger said, thanking staff for their incredible work in putting the watch parties together on such short notice.

“I think it’s a service that people are expecting to see from cities these days, and I think it’s money well spent when it comes to facilitating those opportunities for community gathering and not having to go to a restaurant and pay two or three hundred bucks, or cough up in some cases thousands of bucks for tickets [to a game]. It’s a nice way that is economical for everybody in our community and inclusive in that way. So kudos to staff for all the work they have done.”

SEE ALSO: Five things to know about the NHL playoffs for May 8

The large LED viewing screen, speakers, related audio-visual equipment and electrical and internet infrastructure required to put on the parties in the plaza come at a price — about $10,000 per game, according to a report to council on Monday, May 6.

And though city staff are still working to identify a suitable location to host a second community watch party in South Delta should the Canucks advance to the Western Conference Final, it may come with an even heftier price tag unless the venue has the same “unique” features as the Social Heart Plaza.

City manager Donny van Dyk, responding to a question from Coun. Rod Binder, said the plaza’s proximity to the North Delta Public Safety Building, North Delta Recreation Centre and North Delta Centre for the Arts helps keep costs down, both because party-goers can utilize the washrooms at the latter two facilities and, “probably most importantly,” the game feed comes directly via the city’s fibre optic network.

That connection “is actually making the viewing experience exceptional in terms of it would be much more costly to replicate that perhaps somewhere else, unless we were able to again hook into city fibre,” van Dyk told council on May 6.

“Other sites may not be as reasonable in terms of overall cost.”

The report to council notes costs for a South Delta location could be up to an additional $10,000 per game depending on the availability of power, internet and washrooms onsite and the need for contracted labour including security and traffic management.

SEE ALSO: THE MOJ: Don’t look now, but the signs are in place for a Canuck run

Binder said he supported the events overall and has attended them himself, but was weary of signing off on the second location before any additional costs were known.

“We may not find as convenient a spot somewhere [else] in Delta,” Binder said at council May 6.

Binder also raised the “minor” point of council wanting to take a “one Delta approach,” noting other cities aren’t holding multiple viewing parties to serve different neighbourhoods.

“Right now Delta’s viewing party happens to be in North Delta. Surrey does one in what would be Holland Park should they, Burnaby I think is doing one in Central Park, and so not all communities necessarily are going to get their own specific watching party.

“I know that [separate North/South Delta events] has been sort of a model for Delta and so I’m not opposed to that, but I would just like [a change in wording] so that if we do make that decision once we get to the third round that we just have a little bit more understanding of costs.”

To that end, council endorsed a motion by Binder to amend the staff recommendation in order that staff must report back before proceeding with a second watch party venue.

The puck drops for the Vancouver Canucks’ second-round series against the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m.on Wednesday, May 8.

Game 2 at Rogers Arena will be on Friday, May 10 (7 p.m. start), then the series moves to Edmonton for two games at Rogers Place May 12 (6:30 p.m. start) and May 14 (time TDB).

If necessary, Game 5 will be played on May 16 in Vancouver, Game 6 May 18 in Edmonton, and Game 7 May 20 in Vancouver.

All games will be shown on the big screen at North Delta Social Heart Plaza, rain or shine.

SEE ALSO: Canuck fans to get public viewing parties — but far from Vancouver’s downtown

James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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