ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – Everyone is excited for the return of Blues hockey!
Away games typically mean more people may go watch the game at their favorite watering hole. But with the pandemic forcing restaurants to close at 11 p.m. and a late puck drop, the business will be slower tonight at Jack Patrick’s in Downtown St. Louis.
“When you have a 9:30 hockey start that’s not a great thing,” said Kevin Liese, owner of Jack Patrick’s. “You’re going to have to tell everyone to leave when the third period starts. That’s not a good thing, but we’re trying.”
With only a handful of late games this season, Liese says he expects more people to come in during normal start times. The key to keeping his doors open, is people coming through them.
“We’ve gotta have people coming down from St. Louis County, from St. Charles County; that’s the only way we make money,” he said. “It’s been a long year of not making money. So, hopefully we’re going in the right direction.”
Over in St. Charles County, even though some COVID restrictions have been lifted, Rookies Bar and Grill is still closing at 11 p.m. on weeknights.
“If it was a weekend game, no questions asked, we’d be staying open,” said bartender Lyndsey Smythe. “But during the week with a late start, a lot of people will probably watch it from home honestly.”
Smythe says they have had to make some adjustments but have been able to maintain steady business. Late start or not, she says the return of hockey is great news.
“Excitement. We need excitement right now for everything going on,” she said. “It gets everybody in a good mood and pumps everybody up; gives everybody something to look forward to.”
The Blues will have their home opener next Monday against the San Jose Sharks. A limited number of frontline health care workers will be invited and honored with a special puck drop.