The lack of NHL action is not yet putting city pubs on ice.
But pub owners contacted Friday acknowledged the longer the hockey dispute drags on, the worse it will be for business.
While the B.C. Lions were playing at home and New York Yankees locked in a sudden-death game with the Baltimore Orioles, the big screen TVs showing those games Friday night would otherwise feature NHL games.
With the lockout in force, pubs have already missed out on preseason action and are now several days into the regular season — all without ice-crazed crowds.
"The beginning of the season's not a big deal," said McCracken Pub manager Donna Stewart who said her establishment is not a typical sports bar.
"It's so early."
The city's newest establishment, U-District Pub on McGill Road across from TRU, was anticipating a boost from hockey.
The pub opened three months ago and caters largely to a student crowd. It was packed Thursday — the traditional pub night on campus — but lack of hockey hurt on Friday.
"Definitely they (students) watch hockey," said manager Andrea Rampackova. "(A lack of) playoffs would be tough for us. It's definitely affecting us."
Al Deacon, who is involved in lobbying for the industry at the provincial level, said the past few years have proven to be tough times in general for the pub industry. The province's tougher drinking driving laws made a serious dent.
The lockout won't help.
"If you're a freestanding pub without a liquor store you're really up against it hard," said the longtime owner of Fox'n Hounds Pub in Sahali.
"They're struggling all over the province."
But Deacon said so far at his establishment, the lack of hockey is not having a measurable impact on business.
"You go to a pub with the game on and you're focused on the TV and not the woman in front of you. We hear that often: 'We're not hockey fans — turn it down.'"
Pubs used to feature pay-per-view games not otherwise available at home. But that no longer being the case has also hurt pubs.
Stewart said while McCracken won't live or die without early season hockey, the longer the dispute between millionaires and billionaires lasts the more it will hurt pubs.
"After a month or so, people will start whining."
Deacon agreed the impact will be greater farther on into the season. Of course, there's more than just business.
"We're hoping they settle. I'm a huge Canucks supporter and a season ticket holder. I love the game and the Canucks."