KIRKWOOD, MO. (KPLR) – The National Hockey League announced Friday that all games for the month of November are being cancelled as a result of the lockout of players by the league’s owners. It’s the latest chapter in the drawn out labor dispute that is having wide ranging effects.
At the ice rink in Kirkwood, teams of 12 year olds from that city, and Fairview Heights were on the ice Friday night, with the knowledge that they’re about it as far as hockey in St. Louis goes for the time being.
Excited parents rang cowbells, cheering on their kids, but when asked about the pro game, frustration quickly crept across many faces.
“We want our Blues! We want our hockey!” Karen Padgett said as others in the section nodded in agreement.
A few rows back, Donna Wood, whose family has had season tickets since 1967, warned the parties better learn the lesson of the lost season of 2005 fast.
“It took a long time, three to four years before they filled up that arena,” she said, “and I think it’s going to be a hard time this time if it goes the full term of the season.”
Downtown, there are plenty hoping it won’t come to that. At Maurizio’s Pizza and Sports Bar, Manager Sean Stanton says this latest setback is tough to stomach. The business, which used to be on Olive, chose its location at Tucker and Clark largely because of the anticipated traffic from 41 Blues home dates, plus playoff action. They’re literally in the shadow of the Scottrade Center, with the arena’s reflection dominating the windows.
“It’s a little disappointing,” he said. “We just had the Cardinals knocked out, and we’re missing that this week. And we were hoping that the Blues would be back soon. As you can tell, we only have two people at the bar right now, and if the Blues were playing, we’d probably be pretty full.”
With five home dates already missed, and seven more now cancelled, he hopes the two sides of the dispute will get to work.
“Hey let’s get this done,” Stanton said. “It’s costing millions of dollars. The economy is not that great right now and everyone’s hoping for a little push here and it’s just kind of disappointing.”
Two blocks away outside the Scottrade Center, Sidney Breyfogle walked out of the Blues gift shop with his parents. They’re in from Kansas City. The trip here was for his twelfth birthday the day before, to see the Blues play Colorado. The game never was played. How disappointing is this for Sidney?
“1000%” he said. “Please cancel the lockout.”
His mom, Sherri had her own message for the quarreling parties.
“It ruined his twelfth birthday. C’mon guys, can’t you get it together?”
So far, the answer is no. No new talks are scheduled.