Hockey fans in the city are a long-suffering bunch, and now they are in even more pain with no NHL games at all during the lockout.

To protest, a group organized a “Give us our game back” rally on Saturday.

On what would have been the official start of the NHL season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, hockey fans  gathered at York Street and Bremner Boulevard, outside the Air Canada Centre, from 4-7 p.m.

The group says they want to draw attention to the local businesses hurt by the lockout.

“It’s the biggest night in Toronto every year, Habs, Leafs, the season opener, this place should be jammed. If you look around you can see the economic impact.” Matteo, one of the people taking part in the protest, told CityNews.

A number of the participants chose to wear their hockey jerseys inside out to reflect that they are not picking sides in the negotiations.

“We’re on the side of the dishwasher down the street who might lose his job over this,” said Matteo.

Several businesses around the Air Canada Centre told CityNews they have been forced reduce hours and cut prices on some menu items due to the lack of hockey crowd.

“It’s our chance to start battling back,” said Matteo Codispoti of wewantacup.com in a YouTube video.

“We’re going to show the NHL and [National Hockey League Players' Association] that we, the fans, the customers, have had enough.”

Codispoti asked participants to bring picket signs and wear their blue-and-white.



How have you been coping with the lockout? Let us know in the comments below.