This half finished post had been sitting in my drafts folder since September 20th. I hesitated at the time and figured I’d hold off because I knew that the NHL and the NHLPA would come to a quick agreement and I’d have my hockey back by now.
Fast forward two months and not only is there no hockey, but there is no end in sight to this latest lockout. The fact that I can even refer to this as the “latest” lockout should be enough to make both sides of this debacle, hang their heads in shame. That doesn’t seem to be the case though. The NHL is currently going through its 4th work stoppage in the past 2 decades and this fan, at least, is growing tired of the charade.
While I understand that having your salary cut is not something most people would find an acceptable practice, when your salary is 4.5 million dollars and your job is to entertain fans, you can probably see where the general public would find the lockout to be a tad ridiculous. You might also understand how annoying it is to listen to the childish back and forth banter about how you’ll divide the 3.3 billion dollars in revenue.
Most of you don’t know this about me, although you probably assumed because I am Canadian, but I am one of those crazed lunatic fans that worships his team through the good and the bad times. I have shirts, underwear, socks, hats, signed photos, framed jerseys and a million other NHL products lying around my house. Last week, I wrote about how I’m not very superstitious. That doesn’t apply to my love of hockey.
I have been so frustrated with my team’s play that I have actually walked out of games in disgust, only to sit in my car in the parking lot, listening to the remainder of it. I actually had an argument with my wife over which team our son would be pushed to cheer for, the local team or the team Daddy likes. I’ve even switched clothes midway through a game, to try and jolt my team’s chances. These are certainly not the actions of a sane person, but I can assure you that this is how a lot fans, and even a few friends of mine, react to watching our teams play. I know the die-hard’s see where I’m coming from here.
I won’t even get started on my obsession with hockey pools. When you know your team’s depth chart, down to who would get called up if you lost 5 goalies to injury, it may be time to take a step back!
A funny thing happened yesterday, though. While listening to the local sports radio station talk about the latest snag in negotiations, I started thinking about all the things I’ve accomplished throughout what would have been the first month of the NHL season. Without the NHL, I hadn’t worried about the standings or how my pool teams were doing. I didn’t spend 3 hours doing research because some 15 year old kid in Russia might be the next big thing and could make for a nice sleeper pick.
In fact, I’ve done more of the things that make me happy, as opposed to watching hockey, which usually just stresses me out. I’ve spent way more quality time with my family, I got yard work done, I spent more time writing for this blog and I generally didn’t even notice that anything was missing. It has been an eye opening experience for me and in a way; I have the NHL to thank for it.
So, I’d like to formally thank the NHL and the NHLPA for their continued greed. I feel like my blinders have been lifted and I can now see that my time and money is better served being spent on other things. I know I’m only one fan, but when you start losing the support of the die-hard fans, imagine what the casual fan and especially the American fans are thinking.
Best of luck in digging yourselves out of this mess. I’ll probably still watch some games once they return, it’s not hockey’s fault that you can’t get your shit together. However, I can promise you that I’ll be keeping my wallet in my pocket when it comes to attending games and buying merchandise. I’ll spend that time and money on my family instead, like I should have been doing in the first place.