Eagle Street Grill lays off two-thirds of employees due to NHL lockout

The NHL lockout has cost 32 workers their jobs at Eagle Street Grille, according to its owner.
The NHL lockout has cost 32 workers their jobs at Eagle Street Grille, according to its owner.

In a letter addressed to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, the owner of the Eagle Street Grille in downtown St. Paul urges an immediate end to a lockout he says has forced him to lay off two-thirds of his staff.

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Owner Joe Kasel says Wild game nights account for over 50 percent of his gross revenue -- revenue that's nowhere to be found as more and more games are canceled due to the NHL's no-end-in-sight labor dispute.

Here's the entirety of Kasel's letter:

This is the second time in a recent years NHL games have been canceled due to a labor dispute -- in 2004-05, the entire season was scrubbed. That lockout cost St. Paul businesses 5 to 50 percent of business, depending on their proximity to the Xcel Center, Visit St. Paul's CEO told the Pioneer Press.

But not all business are lamenting the loss of hockey. From the PiPress:

Cossetta's Italian Market and Pizzeria, just blocks from the Xcel Energy Center, is going through a major expansion, and profits don't appear to be affected by the lockout.

"A lot of people want to come down just to see what's going on with us," manager Raymond Vanyo said Thursday.

"Our regular customers are actually coming down here more often, knowing they don't have to fight the usual Wild hockey crowd."

During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Cossetta's revenue rose 10 percent. Vanyo said business is up overall this year.

"We're hiring staff, but we could have hired more people if the Wild were playing," Vanyo acknowledged.

Even after federal mediators got involved this week, it doesn't appear likely the lockout will end anytime soon. Yesterday, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly released a statement saying "no progress toward a resolution could be made through further mediation at this point in time." That sentiment was echoed by players' association executive director Donald Fehr, who in his own statement said mediators "would call the parties back together when they thought the time was right."

So it looks like professional hockey fans will have to content themselves with video countdowns of Zack Parise's top 10 goals for the foreseeable future.

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