Canucks’ Penalty Patio celebrates hockey’s return

Who: Canucks Sports & Entertainment (the Vancouver Canucks), with Rethink.

What: “The Penalty Patio,” a pop-up patio for two described as “perhaps the tiniest sports bar in the world.” It’s a recreation of the penalty box at the Canucks’ home, Rogers Arena, complete with glass, a yellow dasher board, and of course the team logo.

When & Where: The stunt was timed to coincide with the Aug. 1 resumption of the 2019-20 NHL season. It was also promoted through the team’s social channels. It’s the type of thing that goes viral, so it’s no surprise that it was shared by the official NHL Instagram account, as well as NBC Sports, Bar Down and the TSN team of Jay and Dan.

Why: Canucks fans have been without pro hockey since COVID shut down the league in March (that’s nothing: we Red Wings fans haven’t had pro hockey since 2017), so it’s a celebration of the team’s return during unusual circumstances. It’s also very on-trend, with more than 80 pop-up patios having been licensed across Vancouver this summer.

How: The Penalty Patio was set up in the city’s Olympic Village to bring some of the in-arena experience to the city’s hockey fans. Patrons were greeted by an in-arena host, treated to free Budweisers and game-day food— including specialties like the “Towel Power” Hot Wings and “The 94 Save” Soft Pretzels—and an appearance by team mascot Fin.

The stunt also reflected the new reality of dining out during the COVID era: Servers wore custom Canucks masks, while the patio was sanitized between seatings, and all diners were pre-screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

And we quote: “While fans may not be able to cheer from the stands right now, their passion and support of Canucks hockey has not wavered. In celebration of the start of hockey, the penalty box patio is a fun way for us to bring a unique hockey experience to a sunny patio for our fans who are looking to get outside and be a part of the excitement of the return of Canucks hockey.” —Trent Carroll, CEO, Canucks Sports & Entertainment.


Chris Powell