Flames bucks stop here

BILL KAUFMANN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

The vanquished Calgary Flames are nursing their bruised pride while licking financial wounds inflicted by an early playoff exit, club president Ken King said yesterday.

"It's hard to describe -- expectations were very high," said King, adding he sympathized with both players and fans.

While he wouldn't say how much revenue the first-round defeat would cost the club, the Flames reaped about $1 million from each home playoff game during the 2004 run to the Stanley Cup finals.

The money came from everything from tickets to food and beverage sales and the purchase of other merchandise.

"It's pretty obvious it'll have a deleterious effect," said King.

"Each game and each series is a very important increment."

It's difficult to detach hockey's psychological rollercoaster from its fiscal side, he added.

"The more emotional equity there is, the better the likelihood you'll build financial equity," he said.

Despite Wednesday night's disappointment of the Flames 3-0 Game 7 loss at home to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the balance sheet on both of those factors remains positive for the Flames, who enjoyed a season of healthy revenues and moral support gleaned from constant Saddledome sellouts, said King.

"In my e-mails today, I received support and encouragement 20-to-one over the negative," he said.

Operators of bars on the Red Mile said life will go on, even though they'll be forgoing significant receipts in the absence of a Flames' playoff presence.

Brigitte Balchewich, manager of Watchman's Pub, 1109 17 Ave. S.W., said hockey fever accounted for up to 40% of the bar's playoff-season business.

"It's the best business during the season, but what are you going to do?" said Balchewich. "It's pretty sombre here today."

Said Mike Hope, general manager of the Rose & Crown Pub, 1503 4 St. S.W.: "We can definitely expect a dip on hockey evenings -- it was probably a 40-percent increase with the Flames."

But down the street, Jeanne Doctor of Bob the Fish Tavern, 501 17 Ave. S.W., said they're counting on local Edmonton Oilers fans to pick up the slack.

"There are so many Edmonton fans here, but obviously, it won't be the Red Mile," she said.

"We were hoping for a longer Flames run."


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