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With NHL lockout hurting St. Paul businesses, Mayor Chris Coleman calls for settlement

Mayor Coleman will call for end an to the lockout Thursday at a restaurant near the hockey arena.

A St. Paul mayor named Coleman helped get professional hockey back in Minnesota in 2000, and now a different St. Paul mayor named Coleman wants the team to keep playing in 2012.

In the late 1990s, Mayor Norm Coleman was instrumental in persuading the NHL to put a team back in the state, after the North Stars decamped for Dallas in 1993. The new team, the Wild, started play in 2000.

Now an NHL lockout, the second in eight years, threatens the upcoming season and that means lots of lost sales for restaurants and shops around St. Paul’s Xcel Arena.

So current Mayor Chris Coleman will speak out Thursday, calling for an end to the lockout. The season had been scheduled to start Thursday, but the first few weeks have already been canceled.

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Joined by local business people, Coleman will hold a press event at 10 a.m. at the Eagle Street Grille, across the street from the arena.

His office says similar events are planned in other NHL cities across the continent.