Local businesses say the return of NHL hockey is going to help business.

Following a 16 hour bargaining session, the NHL and the players’ association have reached a tentative deal, but many are wondering if that will be enough to bring Calgary fans back.

The ten year deal, like the league wanted, has an option for either side to opt out after eight years but the salary cap has been bumped to $64.3M.

The players share of the revenue drops from 57 percent to 50 percent.

Yet, while it is all smiles and handshakes between the league and the union, fans across Canada, including those in Calgary, are still very unhappy.

Flames President Ken King hopes that an apology will draw fans back to the rinks after 625 games were cancelled in the protracted lockout.

“We are apologetic. We are sorry that we put people through that process and they had to delay the game they like the most. It’s a pure, simple, and humble apology to our fans.”

Kids are sill playing hockey while wearing Flames’ jerseys at the Flames Community Arenas, but people there say the apology just doesn’t cut it. “I stopped caring after a little while because it just seemed to be a couple of rich guys fighting over something and the fans are suffering.”

Others say they will watch games, but they won’t be shelling out for tickets.

Nonetheless, there are still a few holdouts who will stick with going to games and will be glad the season is on. “It’s going to be good to get out and see a few games again now that the players are the owners have got it together. It’s also going to be good for the spin off businesses.”

One such business opened a block away from the Saddledome, just in time for a hockey season that hasn’t happened until now.

“We did expect the hockey season to happen,” says Danielle Purdy of the Café Rosso. “And that it would bring in more business than it obviously did and so it’s good news that it’s back and we’ll obviously get more traffic in here.”

David Fida at the Melrose Café says that football has been filling the screens, but fans haven’t been filling the seats. “It would be a lie to say we haven’t felt a little bit of an effect.”

If the owners and players both vote in favour of the deal, the season will start on January 19.