Alcohol rules at WJC come as surprise to some fans

A group of fans from Vancouver react to losing a game of table hockey to some locals prior to Canada's tilt against the U.S. on Saturday at the world juniors in Finland. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

HELSINKI — Canadian hockey fans at the world junior hockey championship may be a little less rowdy than usual.

A law in Finland prevents any consumption of alcohol in the stands of an arena or stadium, much to the disappointment of many fans who were turned back while trying to carry beer to their seats on Saturday as Canada faced the United States in its opening game of the tournament.

"It’s unfortunate, but it’s a Canadian thing," said Jerry Fortier of Fort McMurray, Alta., on Saturday while drinking during the first intermission of Canada’s game against the U.S. "We do bring our beers into the stands and, y’know, Canada rocks."

The long-standing Finnish law is in place due to safety concerns at public venues.

"You can’t take alcohol in the staircases, at all," a spokesperson from the catering services of Helsinki Ice Hall, where Canada will play all of its preliminary games, told The Canadian Press. "You can’t buy a beer up here (in the concourse) and take it downstairs.

"We have very strict alcohol laws in Finland. Very strict."

Although they were disappointed in the law, Canadian fans appreciated its intent.

"From a safety side I can see that," said Darryl Rasmussen, who flew to Helsinki from Edmonton for the event. "A lot of beer gets spilled and you can slip. Spilling on stairs."

"Yeah, I can see that," said Ashley Langevine of Edmonton, who added with a laugh. "Makes me wish I’d brought my mitten flasks, I think."

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