FOULDS: Actually, 21 of 22 WHL teams do not sell beer in the stands
While local Mounties were displaying for the media a whole of heroin seized from a city hotel room this week, local politicians were pondering their decision to not endorse a bid by the city to have beer sold in the stands at Interior Savings Centre.
That the latter is legal, yet kills more people in Canada annually than the former (and all other illegal drugs combined) brings to focus the absurdity of drug laws in the country.
However, city council does not create laws that imprison pot growers, yet allow for mass child murderers to seek freedom mere months after the bloodshed.
Those decisions are the domain of the governing Conservatives in Ottawa.
Nevertheless, city council, as the junior level of government, must play the cards dealt — and, this week, it was asked to endorse a bid by the city to have the province’s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch allow vendors to sell beer to Kamloops Blazers fans in their seats.
Council decided against endorsing the proposal, with Marg Spina, Arjun Singh, Tina Lange, Nancy Bepple and Donovan Cavers opposed and Ken Christian, Nelly Dever and Pat Wallace in favour.
The reasons given for the opposition centred around a concern about promoting drinking, as outlined by Lange.
“I think to have it so readily available is to give a bad message to our children,” she said.
“I think for somebody to get up and burn off a few calories is not a bad thing.”
While Lange’s concern is understandable, it could be argued that promoting responsible drinking to children is far more crucial for when the kids reach the teenage years.
The more something is presented as forbidden, the more the teenage mind may wish to try it.
If the kids at ISC now see adults watching the Blazers while enjoying a beer, with no mayhem ensuing, would that change simply if the convenience of having the beverage is enhanced?
Now, to the proposal itself.
Serving beer in stands at professional sporting events is not new.
It can be found at various ballparks, arenas and stadiums on both sides of the border.
However, contrary to what city council was told last week by parks, recreation and cultural services director Byron McCorkell, serving beer in stands at Western Hockey League games is extremely rare.
In fact, only one team among the 22 clubs in the league allows beer to be sold in the stands.
That would be the Portland Winterhawks, who also happen to be the only club to regularly split its games between two arenas — Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Garden.
Portland is also the only WHL club to play games in a privately owned arena as the Rose Garden is owned by Paul Allen, who also owns the NBA’s Trail Blazers, the Garden’s main tenant.
I called each and every WHL club this week, with Portland being the lone team that engages in beer sales as proposed by city officials in Kamloops.
Interestingly, this season will mark the first time Prince George fans will allow fans to carry beer to their seats, a proposal that resulted in far too much hang-wringing when it happened in Kamloops a few years ago.
There are a number of WHL teams that have no-alcohol sections, including Kootenay, Tri-City, Prince George, Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle.
Edmonton will add that element to its seating at Rexall Place for the first time this season, with an upper-level carnival-type section geared to families and children — and void of beer.
Most WHL arenas do not have alcohol-free/family sections — including Interior Savings Centre right here in Kamloops.
Last week, Cavers, in speaking against allowing beer sales in the stands, said, “I think we have a very nice, family-friendly arena.”
Not as family-friendly as some rinks elsewhere, however — even without suds sold in the stands.