NHL Lockout Deadline Looms, St. Paul Feels Financial Impact

Updated: 10/25/2012 6:16 PM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz

With only hours remaining before an NHL-imposed deadline to make a deal with the players' association and preserve a full hockey season, all was quiet between the sides.

By Thursday afternoon, the sides were still not in contact.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman already painted a pessimistic picture on Wednesday, saying it was unlikely that a new collective bargaining agreement would be reached by Thursday that would allow the NHL to play a condensed 82-game schedule starting on Nov. 2.

In making its most recent offer to the players, the NHL presented a proposal that included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues. But that was contingent on the sides making a deal by Thursday and getting the season under way following a week of training camp.

Talks broke down last week, and the NHL turned down the union's offer to return to the table this week with no preconditions.

In downtown St. Paul, businesses surrounding the Excel Energy Center are already feeling the financial impact of the lockout.

"If I'm laying off people, and I'm working 14 hours a day serving tables because I need to, it's a lot of money," said Joe Kasel, co-owner of Eagle Street Grille on West 7th Street.

"It's 18 thousand people for 45 games a season. If they spend about 50 dollars outside that ticket price, that's about 40.5 million dollars in economic impact that isn't coming to downtown area businesses," said Joe Campbell, Communications Director St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's Office. 

"Lets just get it done, lets get what's fair for everybody and let's get some people back to work," Kasel said.

"It's all the more important that the players and the owners come back together and understand that there is still a season to be had, albeit a shorter one," Campbell said.

The City also estimates that St. Paul parking ramps could lose about $400 thousand in revenue by the end of the year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.