Faces of the NHL lockout: Without crowd buzz it's just another office

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Wild employee Bryan Bellows.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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Bryan Bellows (no, not former Minnesota North Star Brian Bellows) misses the buzz he and his colleagues get from a big Wild victory. It's motivation for the next day of work.

But Bellows, 34, a senior account executive in the Wild's corporate sponsorship department, says the lockout hasn't dampened his enthusiasm.

"Every time I think, 'We should be playing hockey,' I get stoked because we had a great summer and I can't think of another team with more to be excited about once this ends," said Bellows, referring to the Wild signing free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

"This market is thirsty for hockey all the time. As employees, we're fans, too. We want this to be resolved as much as anybody does, and we're ready to hit the ground running. We're trying to stay positive, and we have a lot to be positive about."

Almost 200 full-time Wild employees have taken at least 20 percent pay cuts. Some employees, such as Bellows, are hit harder because of lost commissions.

"I'm not out selling right now. [The lockout affects] a lot of people," he said.

That includes a game-night staff of 500 concession workers, ushers, security personnel and concierges who miss checks every time a game is canceled.

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