SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Restaurant owners near the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul are all smiles after news broke Sunday that the NHL lockout was nearing an end.
"It means a lot," said Tom Reid, owner of Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub. "We can start bringing customers and employees back."
Reid's restaurant relies on hockey fans pouring in and out of the arena meaning the 113-day work stoppage hit hard.
"We lost 35 to 45 percent of our business," he says. "And servers and bartenders, we had no hours for them."
The return of NHL hockey to downtown will mean businesses in the area can begin recouping their lockout losses. With 18,000 people packing the Xcel Energy Center on game days, pro hockey is an economic engine for the city of St. Paul.
"This is important for who we are," said Mayor Chris Coleman. "We're just happy that we can get back to playing hockey. We encourage people to cheer on the Wild, but ultimately go to those businesses and help them get back on their feet."
Restaurant and bar owners are preparing for a shortened season to begin in the next two weeks.