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Businesses, fans thrilled to welcome Blackhawks back to United Center

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Chicago Blackhawks' long-awaited home opener is a blessing for players, fans and many business owners.

The NHL season is a little over three months late because of a dispute between owners and players.

But it's better late than never for many Chicagoans.

A Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. is not normally a busy time at the Palace Grill near United Center.

It's a clear sign that hockey is back and so are the fans on the West Side.

It is a huge relief for Palace Grill owner George Lemparis.

Lemparis, a huge hockey fan, said business was down more than 20-percent during the lockout.

It was a long couple of months without hockey but the wait is already history for some fans.

The Blackhawks are off to a hot start, winning their first two games on the road.

Their fans are ready to welcome them home to the United Center.

Of course, they are looking ahead and hoping for a long postseason playoff run.

Business owners like Sam Sianis of the Billy Goat are grateful for any hockey at all.

The souvenir and novelty business suffered without action on the ice.

There will be a collective sigh of relief on the West Side when the Blackhawks take the ice again at United Center.

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