ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) - The St. Louis Blues will be back on the ice Saturday night and it could not come fast enough for nearby businesses eager to see fans again after the multiple month long league lockout.
Bars and restaurants had to rely on concert business and fans who came to watch sporting events on television. Now they are hanging welcome signs and planning special menus for the hockey crowd.
The Blue Note will face the Detroit Red Wings in a game at Scottrade Center that begins at 7:00 pm.
A manager at Maggie O'Brien's restaurant and bar on Market Street said the restaurant is doing well, but the staff has really missed the hockey fans. She has planned for more staff to be on duty to handle the crowd Saturday. "I'm just ready for the crowds to come back," she said.
Doug Martens, a server at the restaurant does not expect anger over the lockout to reduce attendance at Blues games. "You'll get a few people that are stung by it," he said, but he predicted long time fans are not going to stay away.
A downtown sports bar that just recently moved from Olive and 11th Street to Tucker and Clark is eager for the season to begin so fans can find Maurizio's again. The bar/restaurant serves pizza, pasta and plenty of appetizers designed to appeal to a sports crowd. "We have the cheapest drinks, great food, New York style pizza," said manager Nathan Clay. He's planning to place signs outside the establishment welcoming the fans back.
Team employees and those who work to broadcast the games are also welcoming the end to the lockout. Some of them have not been receiving paychecks during the labor dispute.