Steveston set for World Cup final

Village Bikes owner Brett Martyniuk and other Argentina soccer fans celebrate Wednesday’s World Cup win. - Matthew Hoekstra
Village Bikes owner Brett Martyniuk and other Argentina soccer fans celebrate Wednesday’s World Cup win.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra

It’s shaping up to be an epic battle between businesses in Steveston Sunday—a sausage store versus a bike shop.

Sure, D Original Sausage Haus and Village Bikes aren’t usual competitors—one specializes in bratwurst and salami, the other in two-wheeled transportation—but the village stores are the last ones standing in a one-of-a-kind World Cup event in Steveston.

Thirty-two local businesses adopted a country ahead of this summer’s soccer championship. D Original Sausage Haus is representing Germany; Village Bikes has Argentina.

“I predict a win of course. It’s not going to be a 7-1, but it is going to be a win,” said Jens Hertha, owner of D Original, noting Germany’s drubbing of Brazil in a semi-final game Tuesday. “They’re the best team there. From what we’ve seen, nobody can beat them.”

Hertha grew up in Germany, and with his shop’s entirely unsubtle decor of black, red and yellow, there’s no mistaking his allegiance. Customers have gotten used to seeing the flag, along with his First Avenue sidewalk barbecue celebrations on game days.

“It’s been a blast. We had street parties for all the games, we’ve had lots of people out. It was a great month,” he said.

For Steveston Merchants Association president Jim van der Tas, the month-long celebration has been great for the village, but bittersweet for his restaurant Wednesday. That’s when the Dutch fell to Argentina in a scoreless match decided by penalty kicks—a game watched by orange-clad soccer fans who packed his Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant.

And just as soccer is part of many nations’ community fabric, the event has helped build a sense of community in Steveston, said van der Tas.

“It’s great walking through the village every single day, seeing people holding events, and all the support everyone is giving each other. It’s awesome.”

The mood was more jubilant for a handful of fans catching the action on a small TV inside Village Bikes on Moncton Street. Owner Brett Martyniuk has decorated the shop in the sky blue and white of the Argentine flag.

After the win, the empanada-loving bike shop proudly boasted on Facebook: “Viva Argentina!”

This weekend, the Buck and Ear will host a two-day party celebrating the end of the World Cup. At 1 p.m. Saturday, the pub will screen the third-place match between Brazil and the Netherlands. Then on Sunday, at noon, the final game—Germany versus Argentina—will be on the TV screens.

Tickets, $25, available at the Buck (12111 Third Ave.), and include a chance to win a Pacific Coastal Airlines round trip for two in B.C.

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