DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Stars are headed back to the ice.  The NHL appears headed toward a 48-game season that could start as early as January 19 and the games and the fans can’t come soon enough for downtown Dallas area businesses.

“This is huge for us,” says Bill Teague, owner of The Fan Sports Lounge. The Lounge sits on the corner right beside the American Airlines Center, home to Dallas Stars games. “The Stars represent  about 30% of our annual revenues. So, the possibility of having the entire season cancelled could have been devastating for us.”

Just days ago Teague was wondering if his sports themed watering hole would survive the lockout– but, now, with the labor dispute ending, he’s hurrying to hire more staff.

“We’ve basically got to double the size of our staff over the next 10 days,” says Teague.  The hiring push proves once again that high stakes labor disputes involving well-paid professional athletes and millionaire owners impact smaller pocketbooks as well.

“During the lockout there have been fewer shifts, tips have been lower.  So even the people that have kept their jobs have been making less money than they did last year, and I know everyone on our staff is very excited to get back to where we were.”

Dallas city leaders are eager to see the games return, as well.

‘It’s roughly about a million dollars per game,” says Phillip Jones, President and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.  “So you think about that.  You’re talking about $25 million dollars in direct spending  that will be coming back to the City of Dallas over the next few weeks and that’s something that we can all be happy about.”

Jones says the influx of cash includes everything from ticket prices and parking, to fans eating out before games and hanging out and buying souvenirs afterwards.
“You’re talking about a lot of money behind in the local economy,” says Jones.

Meanwhile, fans have heard enough about finances and are ready to focus on fun.
“We’ve got a couple of exchange students coming in this semester and we were hoping to be able to take ’em to a hockey game,” says fan Maggie Schepok.  And from her husband, Phillip:  “I’m very excited– I’m ready!”

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