|Michael Wrigglesworth uses his Canadian passport to open a refrigerator with free beer in the Canadian House at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)|
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Hockey and beer. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, Valentine's Day and chocolate, Gretzky and 99.
Not in Sochi.
To abide by Russian law, beer is not sold inside any venue at the Sochi Games. It's readily available at concession stands in Olympic Park, at restaurants and bars and at various national team houses in the area — just not to the general public in the arenas where the games and races take place.
"You have a lot of opportunity to buy the alcohol in the concessions and the food corner on the street, everywhere," Sochi 2014 CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko said. "But in the venues it is only allowed in the special boxes. That is not for the public. That is in accordance to the Russian law."
That has lent itself to a different kind of buzz in the arenas during these games.
"I did notice you didn't see them drinking in the stands," Canadian women's hockey player Jayna Hefford said. "It's definitely different than what we're used to."
Adjustments are being made. The Canada fan house has a beer refrigerator that opens only when it scans a Canadian passport. And beer drinking is a common sight throughout Olympic Park, so fans are finding a way to make things work.
"I've been to Canada House," Hefford said with a chuckle, "so I know there's some stuff going on there."