MONTREAL—First it was the student protests. Now, If the National Hockey League’s season is cancelled, a number of bars in downtown Montreal will be forced into bankruptcy, according to the head of Quebec’s bar owners’ association.

Bars and other drinking establishments in Montreal have seen sales down by 40 per cent since September according to Peter Sergakis, who owns a number of bars. That drop was followed by a holiday period that Sergakis called “catastrophic.”

For bars that have steadily cut staff and hours as profitability has waned during hockey’s lock-out, a cancelled NHL season would lead to prolonged closure or bankruptcy.

Sergakis stressed that Montreal has lost a large number of tourists who would typically come to the city to watch a Habs game. The bar owner added that Montrealers were so “depressed” by the lock-out that they had all but abandoned downtown, waiting for the Canadiens to return to the ice.

The money lost over the past year will never be recouped, added Sergakis.

He maintained that he was an optimist and that he hoped the Bell Centre would be home again to NHL play within weeks.

“That would be better than nothing,” said Sergakis.

—with files from The Canadian Press.