Wednesday, October 10, 2012

NHL Lockout- A Fan Speaks Out

I love the NHL.  As a fan, as media, and as a former employee it has treated me well.  However the NHL is once again at odds with itself and in a lock out.  While it's in the air as to whether the entire season will be lost, as it was in 2004-05, the fans are getting restless as is evidenced by an e-mail that landed in my inbox.

(CBS Sports)

 The letter, from a Kyle Harrison, is below:

As everyone is well aware by now, the NHL is currently in its fourth work stoppage in 20 years. In late August, when asked about possible repercussions from the fans about locking out the players, Gary Bettman said, “We recovered last time because we have the world’s greatest fans.” Since then the players and the NHL have both been very apologetic and expressed frustrations about games being cancelled and seem to hope this is enough to “recover” again. We, as fans, need to show it’s not. We need a public guarantee from both the players (Fehr) and the owners (Bettman) saying a work stoppage will never happen again. For this all fans will need to remain united. We don`t have a Union Rep or a Commissioner who can speak for us and keep us all united. We can only spread word of mouth and hope everyone agrees and follows the plan.

The Plan: Do not attend any NHL event when it returns until we get our guarantee. It is a small sacrifice for the fans that will really hurt both sides. I am sure there are plenty of people like me out there who are still going to join hockey pools, watch the games on TV, catch up on every single highlight there is and religiously follow every story they can find in between watching games when the league comes back. Turning solely following a different league won`t be enough for a lot of people. If we make the players play in empty arenas and don`t buy tickets to the games both sides are going to feel it, yet the fans can still keep up with the progress of their favourite team by watching them on TV or online.

Obviously this guarantee will not be a legally binding agreement and 4 to 7 years from now the same thing might be happening again, but just think of how awful it will look on Bettman or Fehr down the road when they have to explain themselves and why they had to go back on their promise.

Spread the word.
While this is something near impossible to co-ordinate (the NHL will likely give out free Stanley Cups while extending another insincere THANK YOU FANS! upon the leagues return and it'll be eaten up) it is the necessary evil to make this stop.

Gary Bettman (
Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, as well as the players and owners they answer to, know that their product is strong.  They know that the fans are there.  They know that when this is over people will come flocking back to once again lather into a foam as they imagine themselves banging bodies and becoming the true victors.

That's the problem.

In order to stop this from happening again, to make sure we are not lost to what we love, we need to not love it.  It's a horrible Catch 22.

The more you long and yearn for the NHL, the more you complain and whine about the lack of a game, the more you talk about the NHL, the more comfortable the players and owners remain.

Donald Fehr (
Sports that need every ounce of support rarely strike.  Why?  They know they can't lose ANY good will.  While the NHL has little cache built the fact remains that they have some.  They have the ability to miss time because every social network, every side walk, every phone call, every YouTube video shows them people care.  The moment we all shut up is the moment they start working.

If you want the NHL back you need to break up.  If you want hockey back you need to leave.  Don't talk about it, don't tweet about it, don't post about it.  Ignore it.

Only then will this madness stop.
Follow Case and Point on Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook to be the first to learn about new articles, podcasts, and breaking sports news.  Get in touch with Case and Point at

No comments:

Post a Comment