Downtown St. Paul businesses that cater to Minnesota Wild fans are celebrating the tentative pact to end the NHL lockout.
On Sunday morning, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman issued an enthusiastic release after learning of the deal.
"After months ofdiscussions that seemed to go nowhere, the NHL players and NHL owners havefinally come together to save what is left of the 2013 season. Fundamentally, the end of the lockout means business owners in or nearthe Xcel Energy Center can get back to doing what they do best -- supporting thefans of the Minnesota Wild," Coleman said. "We know this lockout has had a profoundeffect on business owners and workers in Saint Paul and our community isthrilled the players and the owners have reached an agreement. Let's playhockey!"
Business has been way down at several establishments near the Xcel Energy Center, including Sakura, a sushi restaurant popular with fans and players alike.
Manager Laurie Malmgren says they're ready for the crowds to return as soon as play resumes. She says they'll have the space and the products to serve.
Joe Kasel and Kevin Geisen, who are co-owners of the Eagle Street Grille said they were "thrilled" to hear about the tentative agreement.
"The lockout has had a dramatic impact on our business. We took the difficult, yet appropriate, measures to ensure our business's survival through this difficult time," the two said in a statement. "Our staff and our customers are like family to us, we can't wait to have our hockey family back. We look forward to a great season."
Hockey fan Tricia Ewy was wearing a Wild jersey in celebration as she arrived for lunch Sunday. The 22-year-old St. Paul Park woman says hockey is one of the biggest parts of her life. Although Ewy hasn't been to a Wild game for a few seasons, she's now eager to see them take the ice in person.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.