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Eyes on the game

Olympic hockey puts work on hold

Nathan VanderKlippe
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 27/02) - Admit it. You weren't working Friday afternoon. You were watching the hockey game.

But if your conscience is bugging you, don't let it. You weren't the only one.

As the clock struck noon, businesses across Yellowknife took a more, shall we say, relaxed tone when it came work. The real action wasn't in the mounds of paperwork -- it was on screen as Canada whomped Belarus 7-1.

At Eye Clinic a receptionist said the TV was going in the back and most of the office was keeping steady tabs on the Olympic game.

"The ones that have to grab the phone just run back and forth," she said.

Same story at Ferguson Simek Clark, where the TV is located one floor down from the office.

"There's a lot of pitter-patter of feet," said the receptionist.

The government is equally guilty. Press secretary Drew Williams, who works in the premier's office, said "I will concede that there may be a few TV's on."

Even the legislative assembly got updates on the game score via Mackenzie-Delta MLA David Krutko. But it was a good thing it wasn't the gold-medal match. "If this was a final game, you probably wouldn't have seen anybody in the House," Krutko said. "We would have had to adjourn early just so we could watch the hockey game."

The bars filled up, too. Boston Pizza was packed during the game. "It's been full every game," said server Danielle Hawes.

Dressed in white shirts and black ties, two Extra Foods workers named Sean and Keith said they weren't skimping out on the company's clock. Instead, they claimed they scheduled a late lunch break so they could catch the second and third periods.

Conflicts between hockey and work can bring out people's creative sides. Williams recalled once when he was a reporter and had to file a story on an event happening at the same time as the game.

He gave his tape recorder to another reporter and scooted over to a local watering hole -- only to find his boss at the same place. He got the tape back and filed a story, but "the next morning I slunk into my office, ready to admit what I had done," he said. "(My boss said) 'the story was on the air, what do I care?' I thought for sure I was dead'."

Sitting close to a TV in a perfect viewing location at Boston Pizza, John Koidhis was openly taking time off work to watch the game. The owner of ATS Services said it was one of the luxuries of being the boss. But, he said, he endorses playing hookey.

"I would allow my employees to watch the game, and pay them to do it," he said, as he sipped back a cold one. "It's all part of being a patriotic Canadian."