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NHL lockout hitting merchandise sales says merchant


The NHL lockout is hurting at least one P.E.I. merchant who relies on merchandise from the league's teams as part of its sales, but the local Quebec Major Junior team is seeing a boost..

The dispute has shut down professional hockey for 75 days.

Marco Thorne, owner of API Hockey Pros, said his sales of NHL jerseys, hats and other gear are down compared to this time last year.

"At least 50 per cent," said Thorne.

"The start of the season until Christmas is always good for NHL apparel, except for this year of course, where I think people are a little turned off."

Thorne does note, however, he's selling more PEI Rocket hats and jerseys. Support for the Charlottetown team has also translated into ticket sales, said Trent Birt, the team's vice president of operations. He said attendance is up by about 100 people per game.

"I see a lot of new faces in the building," said Birt.

"A lot of new people, and when I speak to those people that's what they're saying. You know, they're here, there's no NHL, what else are they going to do? Let's go to a Rocket game. And we've hooked a good number of those people too, as return visitors."

Birt said the entire league is seeing an increase in interest. Still, he hopes the NHL dispute won't last too long. He said it's not good for the game in the long-term.

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