A man looking for bottles and cans rummages through a garbage can outside Rogers Arena, home to the Vancouver Canucks NHL hockey team, in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday January 6, 2013. A tentative deal to end the 113-day NHL lockout was reached early Sunday morning by the NHL and NHL Players’ Association following a marathon 16-hour negotiating session.
Photograph by: DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Jessica Kelly was getting home from work around 3 a.m. Sunday in Vancouver just as news began to break the 113-day NHL lockout was finally over.
The manager of G Sports Bar and Grill on Granville Street checked and double-checked to make sure it was true.
"I was so happy I couldn't even sleep," she said. "I could just see dollar signs in my mind. I was really happy."
Even with college basketball's March Madness and the Superbowl both coming up, "with those two put together, it's nothing compared to what we'll get for hockey," Kelly said.
While unable to give exact dollar figures, Kelly said bar sales have declined about 45 per cent since the lockout began in September. With football games and UFC fights picking up a bit of the slack, the bar - which has seven satellites and caters to out-of-town hockey fans, not just Canucks diehards - didn't have to lay off workers, but cut back the number of casual shifts by half.
"Once hockey begins again, we'll be able to provide more shifts for the part-timers," said Kelly, a Canucks fan herself.
Following a 16-hour marathon bargaining session and months of negotiations, league commissioner Gary Bettman told a crush of reporters in New York City early Sunday morning a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement had been reached.
In Vancouver, the tourism industry especially is relieved the dry spell is ending. It's estimated a home game brings $1 million to Vancouver, mainly in the downtown, and the cancellation of an entire season could cost the city $40 million.
When it comes to taxi cabs in the city, there are 588 on the streets no matter if it's a game day or not. On Friday and Saturday nights, there are 65 extra. That's a lot of cabs if there's not much going on, said Yellow Cab company president Kulwant Sahota in an interview Sunday.
Drivers make an added $50 during every home game, and if one falls on a weekend evening, up to $32,650 more dollars could flow to those drivers.
Away games also mean more money, because more people flock to downtown bars, and travellers and players might take a taxi back to the airport.
"Over a year, if it (the season) was canceled, we're looking at over a million dollars," Sahota said.
"It affected us. It's been really, really quiet. And it's not just us. We're talking about limousines, we're talking about hotels, we're talking about restaurants, the pubs. That's a lot of people," he said. The loss of income and increased competition among taxi drivers and companies added to daily stress and on-the-job friction as well, he said.
At Rogers Arena, staff are thrilled they could be called back to work Canucks games shortly.
"Our members are thrilled," said Alex Pannu, spokesman for the Christian Labour Association of Canada Local 60, the union representing the ticket-takers, security personnel and other staff. Hospitality workers are represented by the union known as Unite Here Local 40.
"Obviously the vast majority of our workers are part-timers. So they don't work unless there are events," he said. "They're looking forward to going back to working Canuck games."
No date has been set for the first game of the truncated season.
Bettman said the league's board of governors and the players' union would have to ratify the deal, the details of which have not been released.
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