NHL Lockout Could Put Big Freeze on Local Businesses - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NHL Lockout Could Put Big Freeze on Local Businesses

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The NHL season is officially on hold after a lockout took effect late Saturday night.

In Nashville, that means much more than missed games for the Predators and their fans.  Local businesses stand to lose big money in the form of lost customers. The hours leading up to a Predators' home game are always busy at Rippy's Bar & Grill on Broadway.  The restaurant sits directly across from Bridgestone Arena.

"It's crazy; you'll have five and six people standing at the bar waiting on drinks," said bartender Kayla Tyler.  "I'd say before a game, you can make, with two bartenders behind the bar, $300 or $400 each, in a matter of hours."

Then when the game is over, fans from both teams once again head out into downtown Nashville to eat, drink, and spend money.

"Not only do you get the local Predators fans, but you get the visiting teams fans coming into town as well, and that's huge for us," said Tyler.

It's not just a boost to restaurants and bars.  Even street musicians benefit from the extra foot traffic.

"Well the more foot traffic there is, the easier it is to draw a crowd," said musician Abby Roach.

She says the NHL lockout and the possibility of Smashville staying silent this season will affect everyone.

"It's a bummer for us, because it means there's gonna be less business downtown," she said.  'It's a bummer for everyone."

The Predators' first home game of the season is supposed to be October 13th against St. Louis.  Right now, business owners and fans are just keeping their fingers crossed.

 "You would think the NHL and the players would've learned their lesson last time, because they lost the casual fan," said hockey fan Jay Huizenga.  "Nashville's got a lot of good things going for it, and for them to be greedy, both sides, and hurt the fans, is the shame of the whole thing."

The NHL's last lockout was in 2004, and back then, it wiped out the entire season.

So far, there's been no progress in negotiations, and no agreement on a new NHL labor deal.  This marks the league's fourth shutdown since 1992.

email: hgraf@newschannel5.com


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