Winter is coming, and yet the NHL remains dormant due to the second lockout the league has faced in the last decade. As the prospect of a full NHL & Canucks 82-game season fades away fans everywhere have grown increasingly bitter over the ultimate exercise in greed.
The NHL’s recent decision to reject a meeting proposed by the NHLPA in an effort to negotiate in good faith only exacerbates a PR problem faced by league owners.
“So, fingers crossed. Maybe if these arrogant owners can get their heads out of their asses soon, we’ll have hockey by December. Fingers crossed.”
Justin Bourne’s cynical close of a profanity-filled rant at Backhand Shelf Wednesday says it all. Fans and those with even more invested in the game of hockey are beginning to lose hope, and the blame is falling squarely on the owners. As consumers on the sidelines, we are caught squarely in an economic disagreement that could take longer than anyone would like to resolve itself.
As we approach Halloween without hockey, the lockout has begun to take its toll in a myriad of ways.
I’m at a “take the fucking deal” point with the NHL/PA. Don’t ruin your sport.
— Ryan Classic (@ryanclassic) October 23, 2012
Fans are getting desperate, and have been forced to branch out with less-than-awful results.
Junior hockey is an entertaining and inexpensive, the NFL has offers a game four days a week, and the World Series is about to start.
I admit, one seven game series of America’s pastime isn’t going to steal many fans away from the NHL, but sooner rather than later the exodus will begin, and by then it could be too late.
So far this October I’ve seen my first Victoria Royals game despite living in the city for eight months last year, I’ve redeveloped a love for the NFL (and hate for the endless commercials), and I’m hours away from watching my first full baseball game in over five years.
And honestly, I don’t miss hockey half as much as I thought I would have entering this mess.
I don’t believe a lockout is capable of ruining hockey, however the NHL itself teeters on the verge of a collapse that threatens to taint the experience for a number of fans for the considerable future.
A shortened season is the first stride towards a long-term dispute and widespread loss of league support.
As the days grow colder the hearts of fans will follow, and I fear many will never return from this round of hockey hibernation.