NHL lockout could be good for local teams

The NHL lockout is getting mixed reaction on P.E.I.

Rob Newson, the executive director of Hockey P.E.I., is worried the NHL lockout could dampen the enthusiasm some young players have for the game because they won't be able to watch their hockey idols on television.

But as long as NHL action is on the shelf, he says there could be positive spinoffs as well.

"People will be hungry for hockey if it's not on TV," said Newson. "And you know I think we will see some positive impact, especially at the higher levels, you know your junior hockey, university hockey."

Officials with the QMJHL's P.E.I. Rocket expect an increase in attendance at local games if NHL games are not being played.

Newson says there is a void that hockey fans need filled.

"We may see a bit of an influx there where people on weekend nights especially want to get out and watch some hockey," said Newson. "If they don't have that on TV, you know we may see a bit of a boost there in attendance which is good for the game locally. So that is definitely a positive for us."

But some businesses on P.E.I. may be impacted by the lockout. Operators of local sports bars are concerned there will be a loss of business. Lots of people enjoy their Saturday nights at their local bar enjoying a drink or two while watching NHL games on big screen televisions.

The Saturday night deadline passed without a deal between the NHL's players and owners. The two main issues behind the lockout are money and the collective bargaining agreement that expired Saturday. The league says teams are paying too much for players. The players say they want a higher salary cap to reflect the NHL's growing revenues.