Struggling Vancouver Canucks impacts local businesses

Businesses that depend on the success of the Vancouver Canucks are feeling the economic impacts of a disappointing season.

Fans have a hard time spending money on a team that can't deliver

Businesses in the city suffer too, like the closing Shark Club 3:51

Businesses that depend on the success of the Vancouver Canucks are feeling the economic impacts of a disappointing season.

On Tuesday, the Canucks lost 0-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes just hours after it was announced that their number one goaltender, Roberto Luongo, was traded to the Florida Panthers. With 19 games left in the season, the team is now two points out of a playoff spot and in danger of missing them for the first time in years.

As Canucks fans and players worry about the future, so too do businesses that depend on the team's success to pay the bills. 

"We estimate that when they were in the playoffs, it's about a million dollars a game because you get people flooding the downtown centre. And it's not just restaurants, but it's the hotels, it's the people out of town. It's the bars," said Ian Tostenson with the B.C. Restaurant Association.

That means fewer shifts and less money for employees.

"You think of a server who gets a four hour shift, and they make, you know, 100 bucks in wages and 300 bucks in tips, whatever. That's a lot of money, and generally those are university students," said Tostenson.

Sports stores and retailers who sell Canucks merchandise say they are worried too.

Former Canucks owner says be patient

Arthur Griffiths' family used to own the Canucks. He says they had to endure plenty of poor seasons and team rebuilds, and advises fans to be patient.

"In order to make another step forward, they may have to step back for a bit," said Griffiths.

"It's going to be painful ... but hopefully everyone can look back and say that it was worth it in the long run."

Iain Black, the head of Vancouver Board of Trade, agrees. He says success comes in cycles.

"It's incumbent on the management of the Canucks to make some of the trades they need to make right now, to rebuild while some of their marquee players still have a value on the market. And as business people, that's a good use of assets," he said.

With files from the CBC's Dan Burritt