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NHL Has Work To Do To Win Back Fans After Lockout

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks to the media at Crowne Plaza Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 13: Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks to the media at Crowne Plaza Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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LARRY LAGE,AP Hockey Write

The NHL, its teams and players have some work to do to win back their fans after the third work stoppage in less than two decades.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, owners and players have said they’re sorry in various ways. Teams have tried to apologize with free tickets and food, discounted gear and access to the players.

The harder work begins Saturday, when 13 games open a lockout-shortened season. It’s a 48-game sprint to the playoffs.

Sports consultant Marc Ganis says the league is skating against a steep incline in many parts of the United States. Ganis says while he expects it to be business as usual in NHL hotbeds such as Detroit, the league struggles in many markets without a rich hockey history.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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