Reporting John Lauritsen
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Minnesota Wild dropped the puck for their opener at a sold out Xcel Energy Center Saturday night, with an attendance number of 19,298 – the sixth largest crowd in Wild history.
It’s been more than nine months since we’ve had hockey in St. Paul. The energy inside The X was electric. While fans were excited to get the season started, businesses around the X were also ready for the puck to drop.
The X welcomed every fan back with a free t-shirt. And down the street at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub, the sound of hockey fans once again filled the air. Wild fan Sam Byom says it was worth the wait.
“You can’t be mad that long. It’s hockey. It’s the state of Minnesota. So you’re pretty happy whenever it comes back, and that’s what we are feeling right now,” Byom said.
From season ticket holders to single game goers, Tom Reid’s was packed all day long. And like the Wild’s hope to rack up the goals, Reid’s hopes to rack up the dollars – even from Colorado Avalanche fans such as Andrew Brown, who drove from Canada to watch the season opener. It won’t be just the bar that benefits this weekend.
“Probably $200, $300. We have to pay for hotel, you know, gas, whatever. But we enjoy it. It’s awesome,” Brown said.
Every night the puck drops from here on out is a chance to make up for lost revenue. Sam Bergstrom of Tom Reid’s says they plan on making up for lost time.
“It’s really exciting to have them back, even with the shortened season. Nothing can replace the revenue that we lost, but we are certainly glad to have them back now,” Bergstrom said.
Bergstrom told WCCO that they do 80 percent of their business on 80 days when events, like hockey, are taking place at the X – so it’s a big deal to have hockey back.
Mayor Chris Coleman said every Wild ticket brings about $40 to $50 to St. Paul businesses.