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Business/Economy

Hockey-dependent businesses welcome NHL's return

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Business owners and employees of Buffalo bars and restaurants are breathing a sigh of relief with news that the National Hockey League and its players have reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement."It's a very important aspect of what we do. We're very close in proximity to the area, so we definitely need that revenue to continue to grow, which we have over the years," said Bill Casale, general manger of the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery.

"This was the 'do or die' week for us as far as staffing...so the timing was absolutely perfect."

Casale says when the Sabres play on home ice, the games generate thousands of dollars in sales at Pearl Street. He says his organization worked hard to increase business to make up for the lack of revenue generated by Sabres games.

"There was actually a string of over 150 e-mails going around yesterday from our staff to each other in joy and jubilance of this announcement," Casale said.

The new deal must still be ratified by the players. The lockout has lasted more than three months and wiped hundreds of games off the schedule.

The NHL is likely to play a 48-game season after the agreement is ratified.  Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press Monday that it's looking ``more and more'' like that is the maximum number of games that can be fit in. There had been some hope that a 50-game season might be possible.

The league has circulated a memo to teams telling them to be ready to play by Jan. 19.

WXXI News contributed to this report.

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