The champagne will have to wait until the cup is in place, but fans will be able to enjoy a beverage while watching the Kings when the playoffs start next week. In a deal approved this week by Woolwich council, about half of the Dan Snyder Arena will be licensed for the sale and consumption of alcohol. Where previously beer and liquor were served only in a small area surrounding the hockey team’s Blue Line Club, the liquor licence will cover seating on the west side of the arena, sections A through H.
Continuing an arrangement that started last weekend, the Kings will be using the upstairs concession area to sell liquor. The club is also in discussions with the township about running the concession stand, including food sales, on a full-time basis starting next season.
For now, the so-called tiered licensing agreement that is scheduled to go into effect Feb. 29 is a pilot project, to be reviewed at the end of the season, said director of recreation and facilities Karen Makela, noting the Junior B organization is picking up the costs.
There is also a host of extra work involved, as the Kings are responsible for having at least six trained volunteers, including security personnel, in place every time the Blue Line Club is operating. They’ll also have to clean up after any mess left in the stands.
Responding to Coun. Bonnie Bryant’s concerns about ensuring minors don’t have access to alcohol, Makela explained that a minimum of four security people will be checking identification and watching for problems.
Although the new arrangement comes with a lot of extra work, team president Jeff Seddon said it’s being done as a service for the fans.
“There are a lot of people who enjoy a beverage, and now they can do that and watch the game,” he said, explaining that previously the licenced area did not offer a view of the ice surface. “From the fan standpoint, the new way works well.”
As well, recent changes to provincial liquor laws allow the Kings to keep the supplies on site rather than having to remove them from the premises after each game. The team can also buy 10 special occasion permits at a time instead of having to do so before each home game.
“It’s a lot more convenient, and a lot more economical.”
While not a big money-maker for the team, the Blue Line Club is a value-added service for the fans.
“Over the course of the season, it’s a fundraiser. On any given night, it’s hit and miss, but it’s convenient for the fans and it adds to the experience,” said Seddon.
Beyond helping the Kings, the new deal is good for patrons of the Woolwich Memorial Centre, said Mayor Todd Cowan in supporting the changes, as the licensing would be applicable for other events.