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B.C. bars going for gold, allowed to stay open for final Olympic hockey match

VANCOUVER - British Columbia hockey fans will be able to celebrate a Canadian Olympic hockey victory or drown their Olympic hockey tears — as long as they don't drink alcohol while doing it.

B.C. Attorney General Suzanne Anton said Thursday that bars and pubs in the westernmost province will be allowed to extend their hours for the early-morning men's gold medal game in Sochi.

The match-up takes place at 4 a.m. Pacific time on Sunday when, under regular rules, the establishments would be shuttered but the provincial government said it will make an exception to the rules in the spirit of the Olympic Games.

Bars and pubs will be allowed to stay open so patrons can watch the game, but last call will remain the same.

"No 4 a.m. booze," Anton said.

"The liquor service is not changing but the hours of opening can change so that people can go down to the pubs with their friends and the pubs can open, should they wish," Anton said Thursday.

In B.C., liquor can't be served until 9 a.m. at the earliest and unconsumed drinks must be cleared within a half hour of the end of service.

"Twenty-four-hour liquor is problematic. We haven't permitted that in the past so we're not going to make that change now," Anton said.

Bars and pubs that want to extend their hours will have to apply, and the final approval will rest with individual municipalities.

Asked if fans will be happy with a beer-free final, Anton suggested drinks won't be the big draw.

"I think what's going to make everyone happy is when Canada wins the gold on Sunday morning."

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