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The Air Canada Centre in Toronto will be barred from serving beer, wine and alcohol for five days next month after agreeing that it broke Ontario's liquor regulations.

But patrons at a major sporting or entertainment event will not go thirsty because of the ruling.

None of the centre's regular hockey or basketball games, or its concerts is scheduled for the period between Sept. 8 and Sept. 12, said Richard Peddie, president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports, which owns and operates the ACC.

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The province's Alcohol and Gaming Commission suspended the centre's liquor licence for five days after a hearing on July 4. But it stressed in its Aug. 12 ruling that the ACC management had redeemed itself after the infractions, which occurred last year.

Mr. Peddie noted that the ACC had been allowed to choose the dates for the five-day suspension. Mr. Peddie said the laying of the charges had spurred the ACC, known as the Hangar, to do more to prevent abuse of alcohol.

The specific charge that brought the suspension of the licence was a complaint that on April 16, 2001, liquor was served on a patio that did not have a licence. That day, a plainclothes police officer was denied entry to the patio to see whether there was a violation of liquor laws.

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