Many hockey fans in Saskatchewan say they are happy with the return of NHL games, following a lengthy lockout.

In Regina, Greg McLachlan said he can't wait to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins play.

"If I was able to jump for joy, I would have," McLachlan said Friday. "But my ankle is broken so I couldn't do that"

McLachlan said he will adjust his spending on hockey-related merchandise, to send a message to the league.

He said he won't buy any new NHL gear until next year.

"I'm not supporting any merchandise for them because of the lockout," he said.

Businesses with connections to the hockey, such as sports bars and NHL-branded sportswear, said the return of the game should be good for them, but it will take time.

Tyler Bieber, manager of River City Sports in Regina, said he is not expecting a rush of customers right away.

"At first it's going to be a little bit slow but once games start to pick up, the excitement starts to grow," he said.

He said things will likely pick up during the playoffs.

He noted sales of NHL merchandise dropped by about half, compared to a year ago.