JONES: Change in Daylight Saving Time bad for Alberta sports – Toronto Sun

There’s a real fear here that Alberta voters not understanding or considering the consequences could cause a world of grief for the world of sports and negatively impact several other Alberta lifestyles as well

Author of the article:

Terry Jones

Edmonton Oilers fans react in the third period of the team's game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on March 17, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Oilers 6-3.
Edmonton Oilers fans react in the third period of the team’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on March 17, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Oilers 6-3. Photo by Ethan Miller /Getty Images

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A plebiscite on eliminating “fall back” and “spring forward” time changes somehow managed to make it to the ballot of Monday’s civic elections in Alberta.

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And there’s a real fear here that Alberta voters not understanding or considering the consequences could cause a world of grief for the world of sports and negatively impact several other Alberta lifestyles as well.

The most obvious effect would be on the two NHL hockey teams that meet in the first Battle of Alberta of the season in an 8 p.m., face-off Saturday at Rogers Place on Hockey Night In Canada.

Let’s say this plebiscite passed and went into effect immediately, which of course, it wouldn’t. The Oilers first two away games, next Thursday in Arizona and Friday in Vegas would begin at 9 p.m., in Edmonton.

Second games of TV double headers such as Wednesday’s Oilers opener versus the Vancouver Canucks and all the second games of Hockey Night In Canada double headers out of Calgary and Edmonton with current 8 p.m. starts would begin at 9 p.m.

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“From the perspective of the Oilers Entertainment Group, a change to year-round daylight savings in Alberta without other Canadian provinces and American states following suit could have serious implications to Oilers fans and in turn to the business of the Edmonton Oilers,” said spokesman Tim Shipton.

“For the 2021-22 NHL season, it appears that 12 Oilers games would be negatively impacted by a move to year-round Daylight Saving Time, shifting the start time for those games to 9 p.m., with half of those being home games.

“Those 12 games would all end close to midnight,” he added without having to point out that the 8 p.m. start for Wednesday’s opener against the Vancouver Canucks that went to overtime and was followed by a five-round shootout, offered a fresh example.

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“This would hurt both our television viewership and home attendance — two very important business lines for the organization. This also makes it harder to grow the game as young fans have less access to Oilers games starting at such a late time,” said Shipton.

“At the heart of our business are our amazing fans, young and old. We are privileged to operate the franchise in the best market in the entire National Hockey League. We know the impact of Oilers hockey goes beyond dollars and cents as hockey is the lifeblood of so many Canadians.”

And not projected in all of this are the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“Obviously if we play Pacific Time Zone opponents, our starts would be later — not good for fans or business,” said Shipton.

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“Games that end at midnight would be a huge concern,” said Oilers President Bob Nicholson.

“There are a few key things. One is that our fans really enjoy 7 p.m. starts. It’s great for our fans to allow families to get to the games. And doubleheaders are a big part of hockey now with the television contracts. They’re working well. The audience likes it.

“But for us they’d become 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. games. They’d get over after midnight. We just can’t do that ton our fans. And it’s not just our fans at Rogers Place it’s the television audience. Television is tough enough without adding that into it.”

But it’s not just the Oilers and Flames. There’s also CFL football in Edmonton and Calgary and the other sports teams and leagues in the province.

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“There’s no question that a move to constant daylight savings time in Alberta would have an impact on professional sports teams and create serious scheduling constraints for our television partners,” said Edmonton Elks President & CEO Chris Presson.

“From a purely sports standpoint, we believe Albertans are currently in the best time zone in the country for watching live sports both at home on TV and in person.”

Consider how it would affect sports bars, especially at this time of year with World Series and NFL games from the West Coast. The Oscars would be over an hour later, it goes on and on.

One of the biggest impacts in the province would likely involve the ski industry.

According to CTV Edmonton weatherman Josh Classen, a permanent Daylight Saving Time would mean the sun wouldn’t rise until about 9:40 a.m. in December.

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“I don’t know about hockey schedules and other schedules but I do know about ski schedules,” said David L. Young.

“Using Marmot Basin in Jasper as an example, staff currently arrive for work in the dark at 8 a.m. with all lifts opening at 9 a.m. in full sunlight, running until 4 p.m.

“Without the ‘fall back’ move, the staff would arrive at 9 a.m. and the hill wouldn’t open until 10 a.m. with lift closing at 5 p.m. These changes would muck up the entire Jasper hospitality industry, especially restaurants.”

It might seem like a pain in the posterior to be changing your clocks twice a year but there would be a whole heck of a lot of other changes to deal with if you don’t.

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