St. Paul businesses, workers worry as Wild season shrinksby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Businesses and workers in downtown St. Paul are worried about a lost hockey season. The National Hockey League has cancelled all of its games through the end of the month in an ongoing labor dispute with players.
And it's possible more games could be cancelled soon. The Minnesota Wild play their home games in St. Paul, and chamber of commerce president Matt Kramer said the city needs professional hockey -- especially as it tries to recover from the recession.
He said the upcoming St. Paul Winter Carnival and the "Crashed Ice" downhill skating event will help, but only for the brief duration of those events.
"What the Minnesota Wild, though, and the Xcel Energy Center brings to downtown St. Paul is consistency," Kramer said. "It's 42 games, sell out or near sell out every single time."
Kramer said St. Paul restaurants and hotels are already feeling the pinch. He said people who work at the Xcel Energy Center area -- from parking to concessions -- are worried about losing a whole season of paychecks.
The league and its players say no new talks are scheduled, and the two sides remain far apart on issues dividing them. NHL owners locked out players for the entire 2004-05 season.