BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The NHL lockout has scrubbed all regular season games through November, which leaves a lot of Buffalo hotels, parking lots and restaurants starving for business.
With no hockey, it's become rare to see crowds streaming toward First Niagara Center and many other downtown venues. Friday night's RUSH concert brought businesses an all-too-brief relief.
The Irish Times owner Marie Stachera said, "From the parking, to the restaurants. What people aren't understanding is the impact it has on all the employees that aren't spending money elsewhere. Everybody's down to part-time right now."
State Senator Tim Kennedy is calling on Empire State Development to help affected local businesses with utility and borrowing costs.
"If they're not going to come, negotiate in good faith, if they're going to cancel games through November and potentially even longer, the state needs to step forward to help these small businesses to make sure they keep their doors open," Kennedy said.
Embassy Suites general manager Bryan Drew added, "We host a lot of the teams here, the visiting teams. And I would say that affects us directly in the rooms and the food and beverage and those type [of] things. But the adverse effects that it has and the chain reaction that it has to our vendors and people that provide service for us... You know, it starts to really stem throughout the community."
Fran McCann's job as a parking attendant is helping him pay his way through college... or at least, it was.
"That's where my hours come from. No hockey, no hours, no money," he said.
Stachera noted, " Everybody's angry right now. We're all angry. We want to work. That's what we're here for."
McCann concluded, "It just sucks. And thank you, NHL."
Senator Kennedy's also calling the NHL out on the carpet. He wants the league to give "emergency hardship grants" to the local businesses that're losing money because of the lockout. Other suggestions include one-time utility grants and interest-free financing for these businesses.
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