ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Fresh optimism that the NHL lockout may be nearing an end is spreading to the owners of bars and restaurants in downtown St. Louis.
Rowdy Blues fans at Scottrade Center have been silenced for more than three months as NHL owners and players wrestle over a new collective bargaining agreement. Caught in the crossfire are downtown eateries that count on Blues games to bring in customers throughout the long, cold winter.
Bob Bonney is Chief Executive Officer of the Missouri Restaurant Association. “It’s cold, the days are short, hockey is a big part of life for many St. Louisans in the wintertime and to not have the Blues, I think, leaves a void in many people’s lives,” he said.
And a void in the bottom line of downtown bars and restaurants.
There’s still hope that a 48-game schedule could be salvaged, which would mean 24 home games for the Blues. Nonetheless, the damage has been done.
“I think it would be a lot like what would ever happen if we didn’t have baseball downtown in the summer evenings,” Bonney said. “Generally, downtown suffers when there’s not an event to bring people into the city.”