BRACEBRIDGE - Fans cheering around mouthfuls of food, pucks passing through the dining room at each whistle, eyes glued to big screen TVs – the NHL is back in sports bars.
THE NHL IS BACK!.
Ferphy Piercey and Tyler Langner cheer following a 2-1 win by the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadiens in the first Hockey Night in Canada game of the season.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
Both bar owners and fans are happy to see the NHL back in action after feeling the impact of the NHL lockout. Hockey fans are glad to be hockey fans again after temporarily trading in the sport for other professional sports. Bar owners are waiting to see what impact it will have on hockey fans and their sales.
Saturday night at Boston Pizza in Bracebridge fans cheered as the Toronto Maple Leafs played their first game of the year following the lockout against the Montreal Canadiens.
Ferphy Piercey came to the bar to watch the game after he had temporarily traded in professional hockey for basketball and the OHL while the NHL wasn’t playing.
“I always watch hockey night in Canada, it sucked that they were gone, but they’re back, so I’m going to support it,” he said.
Karson Clark, owner of Boston Pizza in Bracebridge, said it was the NFL that took hockey’s place for many sitting in his sports bar.
“Your true and blue leafs fans were definitely missed Saturday nights, but for the most part it seemed to hold an OK balance for us,” he said.
Clark said they saw fans coming out for Saturday’s games, but he’s not sure how many to expect on a regular basis because of some fans’ frustration with the shortened season.
“We’ll have to hold on and see what happens. We hope for a good year and good sales and people out there in the bar cheering on their team,” he said.
Tyler Langner came to watch the game wearing a Maple Leafs jersey. He said he’s angry with the lockout situation and how much greed is involved, “but excited at the same time, just happy that hockey’s back.”
“I think the game was good for the first game, I’m glad Toronto won, obviously,” he said.
Jean Lapensee, general manager of Crabby Joe’s in Bracebridge, said they saw people starting to come in to watch the game on Saturday, but he’s not sure what impact it will have on sales for the rest of the season.
“There has been somewhat of a difference between having the NHL and not having the NHL, so we have seen the sales just for one day gone up,” he said. “Maybe throughout the season as we go along it will be busier,”
Restaurant owners are waiting for next Saturday to see what the NHL will bring to their bars. Fans are waiting for Hockey Night in Canada to hit the screen again.