NHL Lockout Ends: Economic Impact Will Be Limited Thanks To Agreement

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NHL LOCKOUT ECONOMY IMPACT
Hockey fans take in a youth hockey game at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Sunday, January 6, 2013, on the day when NHL and the NHLPA reached a tentative deal to end the NHL lockout. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes) | CP

The NHL lockout has ended, and the teams and various businesses that depend on them can get back to making money, but some economic damage has already been done to Canada as a result of the labour standoff.

BMO Nesbitt Burns economist Doug Porter predicted last fall that a strike would shave about 0.1 percentage points off of Canada’s GDP. Now, with roughly half of a regular season salvaged, that economic damage will be half the original forecast.

Since a bit less than half the season looks to have been lost, the economic damage will be contained at less than 0.05 per cent of GDP,” Porter said, as quoted at the Globe and Mail.

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Recent GDP reports appeared to confirm that the NHL strike was dragging down the performing arts, heritage and sports sector of Canada’s economy, which saw a 1.2-per-cent decline in October.

Though Porter noted that the sector is too small a part of the economy for the strike to have a very noticeable impact, he described it as “a big drop for the category,” according to the Toronto Star.

Porter based his estimates on observations of the 2004-2005 NHL lockout, which shaved 0.1 percentage points off the economy.

The real impact of the strike will have been at the local level, where small business and municpal governments that rely on NHL revenue saw revenue drop.

Nassau County, N.Y., home of the New York Islanders, estimated it would lose $60 million in visitor spending if the entire NHL season were cancelled.

And some individual businesses have been particularly impacted. Joe Kasel, owner of the Eagle Street Grille in St. Paul, Minn., told the Associated Press he had to lay off 32 of his 48 staff as a result of the strike.

"The impact on our lives is immeasurable,” he said in a letter to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “I know this is happening in other cities around the nation."

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