Hockey is Finally Back
After 113 days of wiener measuring, the NHL and the PA finally came to an agreement that the third lockout in 18 years had finally run its course.
There are so many things I’m going to miss about the lockout...
The b-roll footage of Bettman and Fehr walking into buildings and going up escalators, the basketball filled highlights on TSN every night...
Oh wait, nevermind...
Finally, we have hockey back.
It was a strange feeling waking up on Sunday. I didn’t know how to feel to be honest. I have been so apathetic throughout this entire lockout that when my friend texted me at 330am to tell me the lockout was over, I didn’t know what to do. Yes, I am really excited that it is back, but it also probably wouldn’t have made a difference to me if it didn’t come back. It just became such a frustrating thing to watch every night on TV that I started focusing elsewhere like the NFL and actually, despite my jab above, the NBA.
After two days to think about it though, I am getting more and more excited by the day. The thought of going to the Dome on a Saturday night to watch the Flames take on the Canucks with a couple frosty heroin beers in my hands has me about as excited as a 6 year old on Christmas morning.
I will not be one of those who will boycott the NHL. I agree that they treated the fans like trash, but short of throwing a pie in the face of every player and owner and yelling “Pretty please never do this again,” there isn’t much that we can do that will make them change their ways.
There will be a boycott by some fans – albeit a pathetic one—where people declare they will not go to games because the owners and players don’t deserve anymore of their money. It won’t last however and fans, eventually, will be back in numbers. It happened in 1995, it happened in 2005, and it will happen again in 2013.
Looking back to the 04’ lockout, and looking specifically at attendance numbers before and after the lockout. Most average attendance numbers in cities increased and did not decrease, showing that despite the fans anger at a lost season, they still came back to support the league.
Now, it is pretty obvious that fans are quite a bit angrier this time around. The issues just never seemed as big as they were in 2004 when the league wasn’t in a financially stable position and something needed to change.
For the past 4 months they’ve been arguing over who gets more cake, when in reality there is plenty of cake to go around. This isn’t Office Space. The ratio of people to cake was quite alright and everyone gets a good piece. There are no Miltons in this situation.
Recent polls on Sportsnet and TSN suggest that all fans won’t come back right away. According to the TSN poll, 20% of voters said they aren’t coming back, while 28% said they will but it will take time. Sportsnet poll revealed that 31% of fans are indifferent while 24% are excited and 17% plan to boycott the season.
I tend to think the TSN’s 20% will turn into less than 5% in a matter of months.
You will find people who are angry with the league and its players, but I believe most hockey fans will simply put it out of their mind and be excited to watch hockey again. That’s all we ever wanted.
Just please don’t do it again. That’s the Canadian in me. I’m polite and not about to start a riot over something I have no control over. Call me a sheep, but all I want is to watch hockey.
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