NHL Hockey is Returning! But Will the Fans? [AUDIO]
WAITE PARK - Hockey fans - and businesses that cater to those fans - are rejoicing, now that a tentative agreement has been reached to end the 113-day player lockout. They're planning on a 48-50 game season to start in about a week.
Tom Frericks owns the Ultimate Sports Bar in Waite Park. He says they especially felt the effects of the lockout during the week.
Frericks says he expects fans here in the 'state of hockey' to come back quickly.
Frericks says, with the Viking now done for the season, the timing of the end of the lockout couldn't be better. He says, during the lockout, his business did okay on the weekends - thanks in large part to a competitive Vikings teams this year.
The Ultimate Sports Bar offers the NHL's Center Ice Package, so they can broadcast all of the games. They're still considering whether to offer specials during hockey games to try to lure the fans back.
Meanwhile, St.Paul Mayor Chris Coleman hopes Minnesotans will continue to support the Wild when the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified. Some N-H-L fans are holding a grudge because of the four-month lockout.
Coleman says there's going to be some great hockey at the Xcel Energy.
The players are skating at the X today following a tentative deal on a new C-B-A. Coleman says he's excited to see Zach Parise and Ryan Suter play in a regular season game for the Minnesota Wild.