In worse shape than memorabilia, Mahoney said, is the business of booking NHL players for speaking engagements, autograph signings, and other events.
Steiner Sports typically coordinates a half-dozen appearances by NHL players each month, but the demand has mostly evaporated. Many stars are unavailable, anyway, because they are playing in Europe, Mahoney said.
“Baseball is by far the biggest appearance business for us, but not having hockey is definitely a small hit,” he said.
While sports bars near TD Garden might be the hardest hit businesses of all, their counterparts elsewhere in the state also have sustained a financial blow. At Perfect Game Sports Grill & Lounge in Worcester, an hour’s drive from the Garden, crowds have thinned on weeknights, when a Bruins game would have packed the house.
“Nothing beats the Patriots on Sunday, but as far as bringing people in to watch a game on a Wednesday night, the Bruins were absolutely tops — much bigger than the Celtics or Red Sox,” said co-owner Michael H. Erlich. “It definitely hurts.”