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Sports bar owner not worried about lockout

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (19/19/12) The NHL lockout isn't keeping regular SlapShot customer Dave Branigan away. He says he continues to go to sports bars as usual. Photo by Matthew Blair.

By Matthew Blair

The NHL officially locked out its players on Saturday, but the general manager of one local bar says he’s not worried about losing business.

Carlo Petracca, of SlapShot Bar and Grill, said on Monday that the NHL lockout would have little effect on his business. Despite the fact many customers flock in to watch the games, he says the relationship he has with other teams in the area will help keep numbers average.

“It would be nice, but it won’t have a huge impact. The relationship we have with other teams in the area will definitely help.”

Petracca has owned SlapShot for 17 years, and has been through this all before. Petracca said he dealt with the exact same situation during the last NHL lockout in the 2004/2005 season. He said if it was during the playoffs things might be different, but only under certain circumstances.

“Even though we play all the NHL games it still won’t have a huge impact. Playoffs would be different but even then it’s limited. If it was Toronto playing every single year then obviously were going to be busy, but if you have two teams like San Jose vs Florida nobody is going to care.”

Dave Branigan, a regular customer at SlapShot, said the lockout isn’t going to stop him from coming to have a few drinks.

“I come in all the time, I don’t think that’s going to change.”

While hockey may be the most popular sport, SlapShot airs football, and basketball games as well.

“Some nights like during the playoffs there would be fights over whether to play the hockey game or the basketball game” said SlapShot bartender Kerri Wetherall. Wetherall also said people come out just have beers and watch the game, but believes they will remain fairly steady.

Other local sports bars were contacted but declined to comment on the situation.

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