SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The night many Bay Area hockey fans had been waiting months for finally arrived; the San Jose Sharks played their first home game since the end of the NHL lockout Thursday.

“I’m excited,” declared one fan who was watching the Sharks face off against the Phoenix Coyotes from a bar near HP Pavilion. “I’m actually very, very excited that they’re back.”

“Coming home from work, I used to look forward to watching the Sharks. And then when they were not (playing) for the last two or three months, I felt like something was missing so I would try to do things to make up that time,” another Sharks fan said. “But it’s not the same.”

Indeed, downtown businesses are also welcoming the hockey season with open arms, considering how game day – and night – impacts sales. Some locations reported as much as a 50% drop in business during the lockout.

The icing on the cake: the Sharks beat the Coyotes 5-3.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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