St. Paul businesses ready for busy weekend in downtown area

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A busy schedule for Xcel Energy Center with events like high school tournaments, Minnesota Wild games and concerts is welcome news for businesses along West Seventh Street.

This weekend, thousands are expected to attend the State Boys Hockey Tournament in St. Paul.

Business owners say, after the last two years, it’s nice to see more crowds.

“It’s hectic but it’s great,” said Pat Boemer, owner of Patrick McGovern’s.

Some call the State Boys Hockey Tournament a holiday, others say it’s a family tradition.

“Every year, we block this weekend off and we’re here,” said Shelly Duncan, who lives in Hudson.

“It’s fun to watch all the good players put on a show,” said Grady Roush, of Owatonna.

Kathy Gosiger, the general manager of Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub, talked about how nice it is to see these crowds, especially after they were limited in 2021.

“I won’t lie, it was a little difficult during the mask mandate and the vaccine mandate, we lost a lot of business, but it came back,” Gosiger said. “Yesterday morning at 8:30, this place was completely 100% packed and it stayed busy all day long,” Gosiger added.

Down the street at Patrick McGovern’s, Boemer says he feels for the smaller bars and restaurants that didn’t make it through the pandemic.

“It took a toll on, especially, the little guys in the industry, a lot of them aren’t around anymore, unfortunately, but for us, we were able to weather the storm,” Boemer said.

Bars and restaurants are confident that events like this tournament will give them the momentum they need.

“We’ve had the biggest crowds we’ve had in 40 years of being here so it’s been great,” Boemer said.

“It’s so great to see all these people, the excitement, the energy that hockey brings to our pub, and West Seventh Street and St. Paul,” Gosiger said.