BUFFALO (WKBW) Following the latest round of meetings between the NHL owners and Players Association, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, "We're not prepared to open another season until we have a new collective bargaining agreement."
That means one thing, if the players and owners cannot come to an agreement by 11:59 Saturday night, the owners will lock out the players.
"Just the thought of it is demoralizing," Douglas Dembik said.
Demoralizing and bad for business. Dembik is the general manager of "The Aud" sports bar in Depew, and says a work stoppage would hurt fans as well as his bottom line.
"That's 80 nights that we are looking forward to that may not happen. If we lose one game it'll hurt us. The thought of losing any is, we're just trying to stay hopeful and I think the whole community is trying to stay hopeful," Dembik added.
But bars and restaurants aren't the only ones that could be hurting. Laux Sporting Goods in the Walden Galleria sells everything Sabres, from jerseys and hats, to stuffed miniature players.
"Business will definitely suffer a lot. You can tell over the past few years with Pegula taking over there was a lot of excitement, Sabres sales were up, but with the lockout it would go down. Everything is going to go down," Charles Hathaway of Laux said.
And if the owners lock out the players, the ripple effect will also be felt by people like Kayla Zielezinski, who works concessions at the First Niagara Center.
"It's kind of upsetting because I am a devout Sabres fan too, so i'm upset about that and now I'm trying to find another job too because I'm a student and I don't have the money to pay my bills for school and everything now too," Zielezinski said.
So as the battle continues, and the clock ticks down, fans had a message for both sides.
"I want hockey," one Sabres fan said.