BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Sabres farm club hit the ice Tuesday night, allowing bars and restaurants to score some business as fans sought a brief relief from the NHL lockout through the Amerks.
Whether it was at a downtown bar or inside the First Niagara Center, the game may have been between minor league teams, but it had the look and feel of a regular season Sabres matchup. The Amerks were a much needed fill-in for this hockey-starved town.
Robert Baran said, "I think it's a great; I hope they come for more. I'll go to every one that they have."
Ken White added, "It's awesome, can't wait for the Sabres to get back. We're going to see a few tonight."
Before the puck dropped, hockey fans once again packed local bars and restaurants. While managers say business has been steady during the lockout, the extra boost is a huge bonus.
Lagerhaus manager Jeff Lang said, "We look forward to event nights, just to add to the business that we have. And obviously if every night was like this, it would be the best thing in the world."
With the Sabres off the ice, fans say they've been saving quite a bit of money.
Nick Zwara said, "It's kind of nice, you're not spending, especially with the price of tickets the way they are nowadays, you're saving a bit of money. You're not going to five, six games a year. That's a couple hundreds dollars you're not having to spend this year. But it's money you'd still like to spend. You're not spending it, so you can spend it on other stuff, but you'd still like to be seeing that money being spent on the Sabres."
Before Tuesday night's game 6,000 tickets were sold, but thousands more headed to the arena. Just before the puck dropped, hundreds remained in line trying to get tickets to the game. And while this was a welcome break from the lockout, having less games means less people downtown at the area and less money for the businesses there.
"I'd be dumb to say it doesn't concern me, but it does, absolutely," Lang said.
Arena workers estimated close to 10,000 people came to First Niagara Center for the game.
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