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NHL shows fans refuse to get iced out

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The boycotts were threatened. The irate tweets were posted.

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NHL fans were fed up with labor strife updates and they weren't coming back to the sport they loved once the lockout was lifted.

Except that they did. In most homes and arenas, they came in record numbers, unable to stay away for that first faceoff.

The fans partied in Nashville, Tenn., where $1 hot dogs helped woo Predators fans back to Bridgestone Arena.

In Ohio, the Columbus Blue Jackets came on the ice for warmups wearing jerseys numbered 1 with ``Thank You Fans'' printed where the player's name is. The jerseys were then given to fans.

In Philadelphia, a city that hasn't sniffed a Stanley Cup parade since 1975, a record 19,994 fans showed up for the season opener against Pittsburgh.

In short, the support - like the game itself - is back.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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HEADLINES
News: First Round Cheat Sheet
Blues beat Blackhawks 4-3 in 3 OTs
Sharks beat Kings 6-3 in Game 1
Avs rally past Wild for 5-4 OT win
Rangers top Flyers in opener 4-1
Jackets prep for Game 2 against Pens
Getzlaf plans to play in Ducks' Game 2
Canadiens hope to build on Game 1 win
Bruins set for fresh start in postseason
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