Ross Langill: Let’s show the NHL that lockouts have consequences

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      Dear NHL fans:

      The NHL season is returning! After 113 days the NHL and NHLPA have come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. Scream and shout until your voice is sore, let your feelings of relief and happiness shoot to the skies, and hug your friends and family. Once you have let your bottled-up feelings of jubilation subside take a look back at the entire lockout and reflect on how the fans were treated. Realize that the fans were not even a minor thought during the entire lockout. The past 113 days were a flagrant display of disrespect toward loyal hockey fans.

      Four lockouts in two decades shows a clear disregard for the game of hockey and its devoted fans. When hockey returned after the 2004-2005 lockout all of the fans returned in droves. The NHL gave us new rules and the tantalizing lure of the shootout after that lockout (and luckily for NHL the first game back went to a shootout). But after this lockout the only attraction for fans to return to hockey is that they will finally be able to watch their beloved game that they missed so dearly over the past four months. But why should the fans return to the stadiums in mass numbers when the NHL and NHLPA clearly don’t show as much passion and love for the game as the fans?

      I can’t wait to hear the sound of the crunching ice underneath the metal skates, the combination of beauty and brutality in a well-timed hit, and the simple roar of the crowd after a perfectly placed goal in overtime to give your team the win. This is passion and love for the game that every hockey fan shares within their heart. But it appears after four lockouts in 20 years that owners and players no longer share this passion. The owners and players now appear to only care about the numbers of the game. And, if they are willing to sacrifice games and seasons over money problems, why should fans simply sit idly by and wait for owners and players to solve their “issues” and then be expected to return to the game that was sacrificed without any thought for the fans?

      Four lockouts in 20 years is enough the fans need to respond, and respond with a message that resonates throughout the National Hockey League. The fans have been treated like an old lover that will always return no matter how they are treated. But at some point the fans have to make a stand a show that they are no longer going to return to our game without consequence.

      After the 1994 Major League Baseball season was cancelled the MLB fans returned to the game the next year, but they returned with actions that send the MLB a message. Attendance declined, fans booed the players and owners, made protest signs and T-shirts, and in one case some fans ran out onto the field and threw one-dollar bills in the players’ faces. Imagine a fan jumping over the glass during the first face-off of a game and throwing money at the players and coaches. Now that would send a message. And on an even bigger scale imagine empty arenas on the first game back. These actions would show the NHL that the fans are no longer going to put up with these negotiations that abolish cherished hockey games.

      So, for the first game back make protest signs, boo the players and owners, don’t watch the game, or don’t even attend the game. Do something that will show that the fans are angry with the NHL and have had enough of the lockouts that take away the game we love so much. Don’t be a mindless fan and simply return to hockey without reflecting on how you have been treated over the past 113 days, and also the last 20 years.

      The fans are the ones losing the most when a lockout hits, the fans are the ones who now show more passion for the game, and the fans are the ones that keep NHL teams alive (disagree? Look at Atlanta, Quebec, Hartford, et cetera). Be a true fan and show the NHL that their actions have consequences.

      Ross Langill is a 22-year-old recent graduate from the University of Victoria who majored in English and earned a BA.


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      Jan 7, 2013 at 1:09pm

      I couldn't agree more and could not care less about NHL any more.

      Hockey Fan

      Jan 7, 2013 at 1:35pm

      "The fans are the ones losing the most when a lockout hits."

      My primary disappointment with the league and PA is for the damage they've done to those ancillary to pro hockey--arena employees, team staff, service outlets which draw revenue from NHL games. THESE are the ones losing the most - their income - when the lockout hits. Not the fans.

      These calls for temporary or "one-game" boycotts to 'punish' the NHL are somewhat silly; by saying that it's temporary, the only thing you are telling the league is that you are still coming back as a fan eventually. What's one more day to them? As much as we'd love to knock the NHL 'round the forehead with a stick, markets will naturally dictate whether or not the emotional bonds of fans to franchises remain or crumble--and this won't be obvious in one day.

      Yeah the players are over paid and the league gets too much of a cut. But that's not going to change any time soon. If you have a problem with who's getting paid what - support junior hockey. They have lots of talent and deserve more recognition. NHL hockey fans got their wish. The NHL is back. Now stop complaining and enjoy the game.


      Jan 7, 2013 at 2:11pm

      Go to the web sight on F/B " just drop it " and sign up. Lets support minor hockey and let the NHL suffer some like we have. They seem to have enough money to sit it out and go golfing down south.


      Jan 7, 2013 at 2:29pm

      Being a fan is a choice, the only thing the teams owe us is entertainment if we purchase a ticket...loyalty is also a choice that fans make...just because we in Canada have hockey coursing through our veins and we expect a new hockey season every fall doesn't mean the NHL is obligated to provide that...not the current NHL owners and players...oh and Ross...the fact that you called arenas "stadiums" makes me question whether you actually watch hockey at all...


      Jan 7, 2013 at 3:45pm

      Hockey fans should be thankful for the lockout. Just think of all the money they saved. The last game I went to was several years ago and it cost way too much money. It was not worth it.

      ex-Haney guy

      Jan 8, 2013 at 2:43pm

      @Hokey Fan
      You've said it exactly right; it's the pop venders, and hotdog sales people, the girls selling merchandise-all those people.
      I suspect that some owners aren't too worried; it was just another buisness enterprise to dable in, then they're off to attend other buisnesses, and so forth. The negotiations were just a day at the office them.
      People who are multi-billionaires don't have the DNA to give shit about anyone who's not. Those millionaires who play hockey probably have some empathy for the arena workers and fans.
      The CFL has a more realistic model for all pro sports.


      Jan 8, 2013 at 4:06pm

      I think it would be good if fans across the NHL all showed up to the first game of the season wearing black. Everyone in black.

      No jerseys, no banners, no flags. Just black shirts.

      And better yet... imagine a full hockey arena (cuz really, no one will boycott tickets they bought) with NO ONE CHEERING.

      Like... no cheering for the entire game. Just silent fans, in black, filling the stands.

      The Vancouver Canucks and Maple Leafs playing to full houses no louder than those in Phoenix or Sunrise Florida.

      The game would look completely embarrassing on TV. That's what the NHL deserves.


      Jan 10, 2013 at 10:16am

      Love the Idea