Due to a tentative deal being reached on Sunday between the NHL owners and the players’ union, the NHL lockout could be nearing the end of its existence after more than 110 days. As such, many local bar and restaurant owners are hoping that with the start of the 2012-2013 season upon us, that their business will start to improve.
The deal has been speculated to include 10-year contacts with the opportunity to reopen the contracts after eight years, a lack of exhibition games, and each team is slated to play seven games against their divisional opponent with 20 games to be played against the remaining teams in their own respective conference.
While undoubtedly many are overjoyed at the prospect of the NHL lockout ending and the potential January 15th start date for the remainder of the 2012-2013 season, many are also questioning why the lockout lasted as long as it did, and whether or not the entire ordeal was necessary.
A spokesperson from the Detroit Red Wings refused to provide a comment on the potential end of the lockout due to the ongoing labour negotiations between the NHL Owners and the NHL Players’ Association.
“As a fan of professional hockey in general, I’m certainly annoyed that these professionals took 113 days to hammer out an agreement.” commented University of Windsor student Cal Murgu, adding, “Now, folks are going to go out and blindly spend money on tickets and merchandise to support team X, forgetting that team X blatantly ignored their fanbase during NHLPA/NHL bargaining.”
“As far as the hospitality industry is concerned, better late than never.” commented Tourism Windsor, Essex, Pelee Island Chief Executive Officer Gord Orr referring to the end of the lockout, adding, “I think that a lot of sports fans will be eager to cheer on their favourite team at their favourite local pub. From a hospitality standpoint, [it’s] good news…wish it had been sooner, but better late than never.”
Orr explained that the lockout would have affected local bars and restaurants negatively because “anytime that you have a lockout, it affects the hospitality industry. With the absence of hockey, a lot of those fans didn’t congregate in the hospitality sector and spend those dollars, that are certainly cherished by the hospitality and tourism industry.”
While Orr concedes that it would be hard to quantify the exact losses of local establishments due to the lockout, he made clear that “the crowds at those restaurants and bars weren’t as they used to be when hockey was in play.”
Kristian Neill, co-owner of the Dominion House echoed Orr’s sentiments when he explained that he saw a drop in his business due to the lockout.
“We saw a drop in our weekly totals…draft sales were down, food sales dropped slightly as well because people weren’t staying to watch the games.” commented Neill, adding, “Nine out of ten times [patrons stay for the] full game. You’re looking at a retention of about three hours [and] that’s obviously decreased slightly.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.