(NECN: Eileen Curran, Boston) - A number of Boston Bruins players took to the ice for a workout at Agganis Arena at Boston University Monday morning. They’ve been practicing at the rink throughout the NHL lockout, but this was the first time since both sides agreed to a tentative deal that will see hockey return for a shortened season.
It’s been a long time since NHL fans have had their fix in Boston, or anywhere else throughout the country, but the sound of blades on the ice will be back soon.
“I didn’t think they were going to play this season,” said hockey fan Courtney Leeming. “Now that they are, I’m very excited.”
The 113-day NHL lockout came to a close early Sunday morning. A federal negotiator was able to broker a deal between owners and players.
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“It is always tough,” said Shane Doan, player representative for the Phoenix Coyotes. “We are all fans of the game and wish we didn't have to go through this, but we did."
Jason Chimera of the Washington Capitals said, "It was painful for everybody, more for the fans."
Which could end up hurting the NHL.
Some fans are fed up, while others are willing to forgive and forget.
“You’re alienating your fan base when you keep squabbling over money,” said hockey fan Atul Batra.
But Chris Murphy sees it differently.
“I think the fans will come back,” he said. “If they had gone a whole year without playing, there could have been some damage.”
Business owners around the TD Garden are perhaps some of the happiest people now that the lockout is over.
They’ve lost a ton of money.
The Greatest Bar managed to stay open during the lockout, but it wasn’t easy.
“We were kind of getting into a phase where we were starting to lock things down a little bit and started booking more private parties,” said Chris Fox, assistant general manager at the bar. “We are definitely happy to hear things are looking up.”
The tentative deal is for 10 years, so hopefully fans won’t have to face another lockout for a long time.