It may be a few months late, but the hockey fans are starting to come out of hibernation.
Excited fans wearing Boston Bruins hats and jerseys roamed the streets Sunday afternoon near the TD Garden, which will soon light up in gold again.
It appears that the 113-day National Hockey League lockout has come to an end. An agreement between the NHL and player’s union was announced early Sunday morning meaning a shortened season could start as early as the end of this month.
Inside the TD Garden pro shop most of the Bruins jerseys and paraphernalia have been relegated to the back walls.
But Craig Beauregard knew exactly what he was looking for and made a beeline right past the sea of green Celtics gear in the front of the store.
He traveled from Quincy to the Garden to buy his new Brad Marchand jersey. He waited to get it on purpose and principle.
“I didn’t want to give my money to someone who was being selfish,” he said, still feeling a bit bitter about the lockout.
But for dedicated fans like Beauregard, the battle back and forth between the players and the league and owners hasn’t spoiled the game enough to keep him away from the Garden.
“I can’t just sit at my apartment and watch it when they’re so close,”” he said, adding that he will soon be hunting for tickets.
After hearing the news that hockey was returning to the Hub, Brian Lawlor of Medford headed to an eatery near the Garden for a celebratory brunch with friends.
Lawlor said that he tried to fill the hockey void with Celtics games, but with their winning inconsistency, they’ve been “difficult to watch.”
“I’m just happy as a fan to have some hockey back,” said Lawlor, who was wearing his Bruins jersey.
The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau estimated that each
canceled home game meant nearly $1 million in lost business to places
like bars, restaurants and souvenir stands near the Garden, according to
Becky Southworth described the past three months without hockey in one word: “Abysmal.”
“The past few months [at work] have been slow and quiet and sad,” said Southworth, a server for the last four years at the Harp, which is across the street from the Garden.
Besides the uptick in tips, Southworth said she’s looking forward to seeing more Bruins fans and regulars back in the bar.
Hannah Kempski, the marketing manager for the Harp, said they “couldn’t be happier” that the lockout is over.
“We have a ton of fans that come before and after every single game and even get a lot of fans that watch the away games, so it’s a big deal for us,” said Kempski.
Chris Fox, assistant general manager at The Greatest Bar near the Garden, agreed.
“Them coming back is pretty fantastic for us,” he said.