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Mayors Urge National Hockey League to End Lockout

October 15, 2012

Mayors in cities across the United States that host National Hockey League (NHL) teams are calling on the NHL to continue negotiations with NHL players and reach a new collective bargaining agreement to end the lockout.

For example, two mayors held events in their cities October 11 – which would have been the NHL opening day – to highlight the fact that local businesses depend on NHL seasons and cannot survive without the thousands of customers NHL games drive to their districts every autumn and winter: Saint Paul (MN) Mayor Chris Coleman and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

In Saint Paul, for example, an estimated 18,000 people go to each of the regularly scheduled 45 hockey games per year. “Canceling those games has an undeniable impact on downtown Saint Paul’s economy,” said Coleman as he explained how vital the NHL season is to his city. “To give those numbers some context, if each of these people spends $50 outside their ticket price, that’s a loss of $40.5 million dollars in economic activity. A lost season could have drastic effects. There are middle-class jobs at stake. There are local businesses at stake. We are not taking sides or playing favorites. Each of the parties must reach a solution and end this lockout,” Coleman concluded.

In a statement issued in Denver, Hancock underscored that in a normal season, more than 15,000 people come to downtown Denver 41 times a year for an Avalanche game. “This is more than about hockey. Our communities invest in our NHL teams, and our local businesses depend on NHL seasons. This is about our small business owners and middle-class workers: restaurateurs, hotel managers, concession workers and fans. It’s about the vitality and economic stability of our communities.” In Denver, if each person spends $50 outside their ticket price, canceling those games has an estimated economic impact of $31.8 million per season on downtown Denver’s economy.

“Mayors understand this is about more than hockey. This is about our small business owners: restaurateurs, hotel managers, concession workers and people in our cities that need the NHL to make ends meet. In this tough economic time when our constituents are already financially stretched, another cancelled season could spell disaster for the average middle-class worker,” said Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.

The Conference of Mayors Professional Sports Alliance is sending information weekly to the NHL cities’ mayors to keep them informed on the status of the lockout and negotiations.