ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – For the last 113 days, the lack of NHL hockey has hit downtown St. Paul businesses hard.
Tom Reid of Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub looks to the large calendar of events that hangs in his establishment.
“We put all the different events and we had the Wild’s events right up there with the hope that they are going to play. When we find out they’re not playing, we put the circle with a slash through it,” Reid said. “It means dollars and cents that don’t come into our establishment.”
Reid says on a fully staffed night, there are normally 30 people working the pub. But that has changed since the lockout.
“On the nights we don’t have an event, then we’re down to maybe four, five, six people – so it’s a huge difference,” he said.
But early this morning, Reid was pleasantly surprised to look at his IPhone.
“I saw ‘Hooray! The lockout is over,’” he said.
Season ticket holders like Ed Christie have been anxiously waiting for this moment.
“Haven’t been able to use them. Saved a little money, but I prefer the hockey,” Christie said.
To get their fix these last 113 days, fans like Diane Blaiser came to Reid’s – knowing that “hockey city” needed support.
“Anytime we can, I’ve been coming down for lunch, having lunch, bringing friends,” said Blaiser.
In a town that eats, sleeps and breathes hockey, the news couldn’t have come sooner.
“I’m semi-retired and I could live anywhere, but I love St. Paul and hockey so I stay here during the winter,” Christie said.
One of the ways the NHL is hoping to make up for lost time is by having a compressed schedule with 48 to 52 games.
On West 7th Street in St. Paul, winter just got a little warmer.
“I think you’re going to see this team be one of the teams to be recognized, certainly this year..you can quote me on that, it will happen,” laughed Reid.