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SBA to assist local businesses hurt by NHL lockout

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The U.S. Small Business Administration plans to help small businesses in 23 NHL host cities, including St. Paul, Minn., dealing with the National Hockey League lockout. According to a news release, SBA representatives will offer business owners counseling sessions over the coming weeks.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our cities and towns and they should not have to sit in the penalty box," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a statement. "When massive work stoppages affect local businesses, the federal government must play a role in helping to ensure stability. Using our vast counseling network, SBA is prepared to coach small businesses until the crowds return."

Last week, the owner of the Eagle Street Grille across from St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center – home to the Minnesota Wildlaid off two-thirds of his staff because of the player lockout, which is entering its 12th week.

Minnesota Wild employees have also been forced to take pay cuts until the lockout is settled.

NHL owners and players plan to meet Tuesday after two days with federal mediators last week failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, Bloomberg reports.

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