Detroit businesses welcome back hockey fans
Bars say they'll offer promotions to get fans back downtown
DETROIT – Hockeytown businesses in downtown Detroit are hoping to get the word out that the end of the NHL lockout means they're open and willing to start serving hockey fans.
The Detroit Red Wings themselves have put out a commercial to drum back up excitement.
Keith Brown has his Red Wing season tickets but says losing half of the games was a hit to his limo service.
He says he used to pick up fans, sports announcers and team crews from hotels, casinos and other places.
"Without them, I lose a lot of money," Brown said.
Bars and restaurants, such as Bookies on Cass Avenue, sweated out the lockout like a double minor penalty.
"Bars are down between 28 percent and 50 percent in beer sales, which is a scary number," said Bookies owner Jay Lambrecht.
But the downtown establishments are pioneering a grassroots effort to remind fans that Hockeytown never really left.
"We're going to do some fun specials, 50-cent wings, $2 build-a-burger and $2 beers. Even for people who want to stay and watch the game," Lambrecht said.
Over at the Anchor Bar, owner Vaughn Derderian, said he's got a new cook and new specials.
"Special stuff is being worked out for our hockey fans," he said.
Still, the pressure of successful recovery is on the sticks of the players.
"If they're winning, people will come out. If they're losing, we're going to have to do a lot of promos to get people to come out," Derderian said.
The Wings' first home game is Tuesday.
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