As I am sure all of you already know, but in case you don’t, the first week of NHL pre-season games have been cancelled. Shocker? Plenty of teams are announcing layoffs and reduced hours for employees, including those working at the league offices.
This has me thinking about who is actually suffering in the wake of this Lockout. First and foremost the innocent employees that show up for work each and every day. The ones that depend on the season starting on time, and continuing through playoffs. Most of these employees are actually avid fans as well, so realistically they suffer double! Outside those working for each individual team and the league, the local business owners that depend on pre and post game business see a large drop off in profits. A lot of restaurants and bars get a lot of their business during the season with people fizzling in and out for games. Oh, and don’t forget about the rinks that will be sitting empty the majority of the time.
Lastly, but obviously not least, because I am writing this for you… yes you, THE FANS! We are all suffering, because while the players can find places to play, we cannot find places to watch the caliber of hockey we enjoy most. Yes, we have college hockey, and can keep tabs on those players playing in Europe, and if we are lucky watch a few in the AHL, but that is simply a tease. Honestly, who likes a tease?
Since there are two sides to every coin, let’s talk about those that are not suffering. The owners and Gary “Round Head” Bettman, they both have the resources and leverage to wait it out. While we the fans miss out on our favorite past time, thanks jerks! I don’t know too many people that would be willing to work for less money, and fewer resources. I think the owners are forgetting that the players have made the game what it is today, not them. Bettman just enjoys Lockout’s, this is the third one he has called since he took over as League Commissioner in 1993. Classy Bettman, real classy!
Unfortunately the one thing everyone believes might have the ability to save the season, the Winter Classic, might actually not be enough to motivate the owners. This was suspposed to be an exciting year for the Winter Classic, the first appearance of a Canadian team. The Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the most important NHL franchises. Add on top of that the game is set to be played in “The Big House” Michigan Stadium, in front of an estimated crowd of 115,000. Despite the possible seven figure profit this game brings in for the league, the potential CBA would bring the owners much more than that overall.
I hate to say it but buckle up fans, it is going to be a long bumpy ride, and you are not in the drivers seat.