With the NHL lockout officially over and games occurring on a set schedule, hockey fans across the continent are rejoicing that their favourite sport is being played once again.
The impact of the lockout was sizable for local bars and restaurants who depend on the foot traffic which the hockey season brings out on a recurring basis.
“[I] couldn’t be more excited,” commented Dominion House owner Chris Mickle who explained that he saw a dip in business sales for the year in the months when hockey first started. “Over the past couple of night since hockey has been on, we’ve had a lot of patrons in here watching the games, which creates a lot of customer retention over a couple hours and the response has been really great.”
Mickle explained that as the official Molson Canadian Hockey House he offers prizes and giveaways every night that hockey is on – including a grand prize of NHL jackets and an Ovechkin hockey stick for the end of the season – and since NHL has come back, he’s seen a lot of people in Leaf’s jerseys and a “lot of cheering and a lot of camaraderie, it was great.”
Windsorite Kate D’Asti didn’t go out to any bars during the NHL lockout which is a regular occurrence for her during normal seasons.
“[There’s] nothing like sitting down, and having a pint while watching a game at a bar,” commented D’Asti, adding, “There’s nothing better than cheering with a group of people, especially during playoffs or for exciting rivalries.”
Joseph Krantz echoed the sentiment and explained that he missed being able to take in the games at his favourite bars in the city.
“It just didn’t feel right…I almost didn’t know what to do at night,” stated Krantz, adding, “But now that it’s back, I’ll be coming out and supporting my favourite team and local bars. Who doesn’t like to watch a game at a local watering hole?”
Since the NHL is back, D’Asti is going to begin to take in the games at local bars to enjoy the atmosphere of being amongst a group of people who all enjoy the sport.
D’Asti is rooting for the Ottawa Senators this year “as always, but my brother goes for the Canadians, so I cheer for any in Canada, or Detroit”.
While she believes that the lockout was unnecessarily long and torturous for Canadians, she hopes that all parties involved got a good deal. Regarding the concession workers and other spinoff jobs that hockey helps to employ, D’Asti commented that she “personally know what it’s like to be out of work, so for all the arena workers, that’s crappy, but now there is work, so that’s good.”
“It was nice to see the hockey fans back and excited and not complaining and bitching at the TV over all the talks and negotiations,” commented Mickle, adding, “It was just making people hostile, glad that its gone.”
On Monday night, City Council approved a pilot project which will see sidewalk patios being open year round and many business owners hope that it will help attract more business during the winter months.
While sidewalk patios were scheduled to close at the beginning of last November, City Council granted extensions to business owners due to the warm weather.
Logistically speaking, patios must be used as extensions of the business and not simply for storage. Additionally, there must be a heater provided for every 10 patrons.
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.