No question mark necessary. Hail to the Victors!
With the NHL Regular season scheduled to begin in just under two months (October 11th), many fans, myself included, are asking a very serious question. This won’t happen again, will it?
If you’re not exactly sure what I’m talking about, let me quickly recap. In 2004-2005 the NHL closed its doors on the players and the lockout had begun. What should have been the 88th season in the history of the NHL, was just that…HISTORY. It never happened. Not only was the pre-season, and regular season canceled, for the first time since 1919 Lord Stanley’s Cup was not awarded. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this was also the first time a major professional sports league in North America canceled a complete season due to labor disputes, EVER! Let me tell you, these are not the types of historical events professional sports leagues want, however the NHL owns it, and now, it seems that the NHL and the NHLPA are testing these waters yet again.
In an article published by the Sporting News on Aug. 15th, it was reported that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman relayed a message to hockey fans everywhere saying that “The sides are far apart and have different views of the world,” In the article Bettman is referring to NHLPA Union head Donald Fehr and the players. So here we have it, the dispute between the NHL (Gary Bettman & his team of lawyers), and the NHLPA (Donald Fehr & his team of lawyers) has begun.
The NHL, and its players lost so much after the ‘04-‘05 lockout. Obviously they lost millions in revenue, but most importantly, the NHL lost a great number of its fans. It took years for the NHL to recover from the lockout, and many will tell you the NHL never fully recovered. I will say it right now, if the NHL has another lockout in ‘12-‘13 it may be impossible to recover.
I was one of the die-hard fans who went sprinting back to the arena (Joe Louis Arena) once the lockout ended. I wanted nothing more than to see ‘The Captain’ (Steve Yzerman), and the rest of the Detroit Red Wings take the ice. I remember thinking how much I missed the NHL during the lockout, and how much I really didn’t care about the NBA, which is all ESPN would cover. I also remember being pretty upset that during the lockout I was missing a chance to witness another season from Yzerman who retired from the NHL after the 2006-2007 season. I was robbed of being able to watch one of my all-time favorite athletes compete for an entire season, one in which the Red Wings may have won the Stanley Cup (Previous win ‘02, Latest win ‘08)? We’ll never know. Those are some my reasons, and as selfish as they may be, I am the fan, I am one of the people paying for this entertainment, and the excitement it brings.
I have to ask this question, how much is enough? One site (CrashingTheGoalie) noted that in 2011-2012 the NHL player minimum was $525,000 as reported by NHL.com. I understand the players have to pay their agents, PR / marketing team, etc. but come on, that’s more than half of a million dollars a year to play hockey in the NHL. I think people are losing site of what they’re doing. Let’s ask a timeless question…do the players remember when they use to play for the love of the game? It use to be the thrill of putting the puck in the net, or making the big save, then celebrating with teammates, friends, and family. Now it’s about how to get the summerhouse, or the next sports car. I know everyone has bills to pay, but I just can’t get over that amount of money. In my opinion, the NHLPA needs to wake up!
Now, Commissioner Bettman. You sir, need to get you *stuff* together. The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) expires on September 15th, the clock is ticking, and now it’s the fans that are keeping score. Millions of fans are asking you to work with the NHLPA, and get a deal signed. Bettman should know that if a deal is not signed soon, the millions of fans “asking” will then begin to beg. Once the begging doesn’t work, and if there is another lockout that begging will turn to anger, and the millions of fans will walk away, and you’ll be left sitting alone, responsible for what has happened. Bettman needs to realize the seriousness of the situation, the NHL finally has a great TV deal signed with NBC Sports Network (formally Versus), and the fans have slowly been coming back, and the NHL is again relevant. Mr. Bettman, are you willing to throw away all the hard work?
Finally, let’s talk about something even more important than the fans, the employees of the arenas. Those people who work hard to help bring the experience to the fans. I’m talking about the people who work the concession stands, the ushers who show you to your seat, the people who scan the tickets, work the parking lot, etc. Those are the people who are financially affected by this decision. They will not see a rev. share option from the CBA; their salaries will not increase or decrease with the CBA. They will be the left with nothing. Looking for another job until the NHL, and NHLPA can agree to another CBA. Thanks for the economic help, or should I say, thanks for nothing.
I’m a die-hard hockey fan. Will another lockout have an affect on me? Yes, it will. Will I come back the same fan should another lockout occur? Most likely, yes. The question is, how many others are exactly like me? How many will walk away for good?
The real question for Mr. Bettman, and Mr. Fehr is this; is the risk worth the loss you may take? Personally, this hockey fan says no. What do you say?
“Program is not responding”
Us: FINE. I’ll close you down. Show you who is in charge.
Us: CLOSE DOWN. YOU BITCH.
Us: That is it. I’M BRINGING OUT THE TASK MANAGER.
Powerful comments from a Judge. Nothing is more important than family! How great would it be to see a divorce rate of 0%…imagine how much more pleasant the world would be.
15 years ago today, Vladi stepped in to a limo celebrating winning Lord Stanleys Cup. Little did he know it would forever change his life. He proved what having heart can do.