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Hockey fans are apprehensive about the upcoming NHL season and the pending lockout.
“You have to think of the fans, right? That’s who the draw is,” said Andrew Pinsent of Nepean.
“I think it’s not good for the game.”
The 2012-13 regular season is slated to begin Oct. 11, however, if a new collective bargaining agreement isn’t hammered out when the current deal expires Sept. 15, players will be locked out.
“I’m a little anxious. I hope the season gets going on time, especially because I’m a Leafs fan,” he said.
Sens faithful Aisys Adona is simply vexed.
“It just makes me angry and so I just want a deal done, most of all,” she said.
“It’s hard to get away from it because now that the Olympics are over, all the sports channels are talking about it and that’s kind of their focus now.”
Adona, from Nepean, recalls being in high school during the 2004-05 lockout.
“It was tough because I was just kind of getting to the high point of where I really became a fan,” she said.
Hoops junkies know the drill.
The NBA had a 161-day labour lockout in 2011, trimming the 82-game season down to 66.
A 10-year deal was eventually hammered out.
This time around, basketball tips off Oct. 30 and is part of Pinsent’s backup plan.
“I guess I’d be watching more Raptors or the 67’s, I guess, are in town. Good junior hockey,” Pinsent said.
But there’s no Plan B for sports bars, which are hot spots for Senators games.
“It’s a very big draw. It outdraws NFL, it outdraws everything,” said Tasso Vasilas, co-owner of Local Heroes Bar & Grill on Bank St.
If the season comes to a halt, “I won’t be too happy if that happens,” he said.
Sales will be affected, big time.
“What we’re figuring it out to be, based on the 2004 lockout, it’s anywhere from between 10 to 20% on game days, so it’s a pretty big percentage,” said Vasilas.
The bar, he said, is generally full, depending on the lineup.
“If it’s the Sens against the Leafs, or Sens against the Canadiens, it’s usually a packed night,” he said.
While UFC events or NFL games attract a decent crowd, “there’s no replacing the NHL. The NHL is the NHL,” said Vasilas.