SUN Hockey Pool

Fans prepare for the worst

DEREK PUDDICOMBE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 6:40 AM ET

Hockey fans savoured every second of Team Canada's World Cup victory last night. They lapped up every, pass, shot, save and goal. Not because they were coming out of hockey hibernation to get an early look at the 2004-05 NHL season, but because it could be the last taste of NHL this season.

Wearing his Team Canada World Cup jersey and taking in last night's game at a packed Marshy's Bar-B-Que and Grill in Nepean, Tyler D'Angelo says he will be able to endure a year without hockey.

"A lockout could be in everybody's best interest," said D'Angelo, 21, who argued the salary cap the NHL Players Association is fighting is unrealistic. "I'm willing to absorb the strike."

'KIND OF SCARY'

D'Angelo and four of his friends have already had their fair share of pro hockey this summer after taking in two World Cup games in Montreal.

But fans won't be the only ones to suffer. Local bars and restaurants, which depend on Senators home games to draw big crowds will be scrambling to compensate.

Brad Marsh, who spent 15 seasons playing defence in the NHL, his last year with the Ottawa Senators, owns two Ottawa sports bars and is bracing for a drop in business.

"It's kind of scary from our standpoint," said Marsh, who is preparing promotions to compensate for a potential decrease in business.

"It's unfortunate that it has come to this. Nothing compares to hockey."

With a lengthy lockout looming, it seems to be the fans who will miss their hockey favourites the most.

OTHER SPORTS

"I was really looking forward to the Sens having a good year this season with Hasek in nets," said Keith Fenwick, who stopped by Local Heroes last night.

However, with Canadian football in full swing and the Grey Cup in Ottawa this year, Major League Baseball heading into the playoffs, the NFL kicking off their season this week, and NBA basketball beginning in a matter of weeks, most sports fanatics will have enough to keep them occupied.

But with word that an NHL lockout could last 18 months, it may not be enough.

"I'm not a football fan and I'm not a baseball fan," said Andrew MacKay.

"I guess I'll have to play hockey to compensate."

derek.puddicombe@ott.sunpub.com


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