Bruins playoff run helping businesses recover from NHL lockout

Local businesses cross-checked hard by an NHL lockout that slashed 34 games off the schedule are scoring now that the Boston Bruins have extended their season all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Salisbury apparel maker Old Time Sports, which draws 99 percent of its revenue from National Hockey League-licensed merchandise, was forced to lay off two-thirds of its workforce during the league’s lockout last fall and winter. It needed a loan from the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation to remain solvent.

Thanks to a deep playoff run by the Bruins, the company is almost back to a full, 50-person staff and reports that year-to-date sales are up 30 percent.


“We’ve certainly recovered,” said cofounder Bob Magnuson. “We’re selling as much as we can possibly make.”

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Games 3 and 4 of the championship series against the Chicago Blackhawks will be played next week at TD Garden. By the end of the series, the Bruins will have played at least 20 more games than they would have had the team missed the playoffs.

All those extra contests are helping to make up for lost sales and wages at The Four’s, a popular sports bar near the Garden. Manager Jim Taggart recalled that on the 17 evenings when a Bruins home game was canceled, only 10 employees were needed to staff a restaurant that normally would have required 40.

“So every night without a game, that’s 30 people missing out on wages and tips,” Taggart said.

Once-idle workers have been busy during the playoffs. On the night of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final, for instance, the bar was packed and patrons had to wait an hour for a table, as a line stretched out the door and down a soggy Canal Street.


Because the Bruins have reached the championship round, The Four’s has bounced back from the most recent NHL lockout faster than it did from one that wiped out the entire 2004-2005 season, or the National Basketball Association lockout that eliminated 16 Celtics games in 2011, Taggart said.

At the Onyx Hotel on Portland Street, the Bruins’ postseason success is filling rooms and ringing up bar tabs — a welcome change after hockey’s labor dispute iced bookings between October and December, said general manager Joe Capalbo.

On game nights in the playoffs, revenues at the hotel lounge have consistently been twice the average.

“It’s been great,” Capalbo said. “The last game against the Penguins was the highest revenue night in Ruby Room history.”

Callum Borchers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.