The end of the NHL lockout will get players back on the ice and fans back on their bar stools, local establishment owners say.
“Of course we’re excited, the more sports the better,” said Kim Fralick, manager of Big Leagues sports bar in Cole Harbour, after news of a tentative deal between the league and the NHL players was announced Sunday.
Fralick said at the beginning of the regular season, people were “in a slump” about the lockout, but other sports brought in a different crowd.
“It’s been more basketball and college which is fine, but it’s not quite the same without the hockey,” Fralick said.
She added the first Pittsburgh Penguins game of the year is sure to bring in lots of people to watch hometown favourite Sidney Crosby skate onto the ice.
“As soon as they play we’ll be watching,” Fralick said.
Adam Lardner, general manager of the Oasis Pub and Eatery on Spring Garden Road, said the lockout wasn’t “business-ending” but definitely impacted sales because hockey fans wouldn’t stay as long.
He said the mood was different without NHL games as well.
“Normally there’s a lot of side betting and friendly joking, and then the games mean stuff to people,” Lardner said. “It’s more than just this thing that we watch on TV that takes up two hours, it’s a way of life for Canadians.”
But personally, Lardner said he won’t support the NHL this year.
“At the end of the day, they’re only having a season so they don’t lose millions of dollars… it’s not about the pride and the playing of hockey,” he said. “But know a lot of our patrons are going to be very excited, so I’m looking forward to how happy they will be.” — Metro Halifax