Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Hockey fans across the nation are rejoicing over the news that their favorite team will be back on the ice. So are several downtown businesses that bank on the team playing at the First Niagara Center.
No Sabres games has left some businesses struggling, or finding other avenues to survive. After all, hockey in Buffalo is a way of life -- not just for die-hard fans, but also local businesses.
Daryl Carr, the co-owner of Cobblestone Bar and Grill, says the lockout "eliminated hockey, which is the majority of our revenue during the hockey season."
Cobblestone specifically opens up during events at the First Niagara Center -- and the business has been hit hard.
"Without hockey we basically cut back all our staff, and then brought back on a sporadic basis," Carr explains.
Nearby at Pearl Street Bar and Grill, less business has been coming in on the weekdays. Roy Bakos, a Servic Manager, says weekends are busy. However, "Tuesday night, Wednesday night games where you weren't there. You'd like to think that wouldn't miss having that thousand people through your door -- but it's a thousand people."
As news broke that the lockout looks to be over, fans started making plans to celebrate the Sabres.
Mike McSparron says he looks forward to "Just having a city with plenty of people buzzing around town -- and having people watching the game and having a good time."
Dan Rusin says "I've been waiting for it -- I'm ready for Hockey believe me. I love hockey, hockey's my sport."
This means a lot of work for businesses in the upcoming months -- but it will be worth it.
Bakos says "It's a wonderful relief to have. Especially now with the abbreviated season -- they're talking 24-25 home games in a matter of a 16 week period."
Carr adds "People in Buffalo are die hard hockey fans and they're starving for some hockey sports in the winter. Our business should really be superior this year."