This sucks. It’s about all I can manage to say about the impending NHL lockout.
I haven’t studied every article. There have been too many. I haven’t read every tweet. They have been too annoying. I haven’t watched every protest video. They’ve been too pointless. I haven’t answered every question. I don’t have any answers. I haven’t taken a side. Nobody wins.
It is a big business and it is a difficult business. It is a business in which making money is not a given, but spending a lot is. The highly complicated practice of building a team and providing entertainment for the public is not all glitz and glamour. It is hard work and it requires tough decisions to be made.
It’s easy to side with the players. It’s much harder to side with the owners. But is there really a side worth taking anymore? Millionaires vs. Billionaires, right? The Haves vs. the Have Mores. What an enviable war this must be. Then there’s us, the Have Nothings.
Both sides have made very valid, very fair points during these negotiations, but there has been a maddening lack of a middle ground. There has to be a compromise somewhere. Anywhere. A stalemate that has no end in sight is more than a little worrisome.
We know the game will come back. Some fans might stay away, most will not. There’s no shame in returning. We love the game of hockey and we want to see it played at the highest level.
It’s OK to be pissed off, though. This is a quite helpless night in the hockey world right now. Without a voice in the proceedings, this is up to people who have allowed our faith in them to dwindle.
But what are you to do? You like hockey right? You like the NHL? So when the NHL ends yet another lockout that will do more harm than good, more than likely, in the short term, with probably little benefit in the long term, we’ll still go back. Every lockout in years past and years future is but a blip on the radar of your hockey fandom. A scar to be sure, but the kind that only keeps you coming back for more, knowing full well you might get scarred again.
Scars fade over time, but there are ways to numb the pain right now.
Use your time wisely during these dreadful NHL-less months. Experience the game in other ways. Maybe it’s at your local rink or in a minor league or college stadium. Maybe you finally get to that junior game you’ve been meaning to get to. Perhaps the local high school has a game on Friday night. Maybe it’s time you laced ‘em up yourself.
There are going to be voids that EA Sports can’t fill. Be sure to get out and enjoy the game as you always do, except this time you won’t be shedding Benjamin Franklins from your wallet.
This is a great game, a game that is growing in the United States, providing you with numerous opportunities to rediscover it in ways you might even end up enjoying more than the NHL (The ongoing Living with the Lockout series on USofH might be a helpful guide).
You don’t have a say in how this goes. You do have a choice.
Sulk through the NHL Lockout if you like, or stay in the game in any way available to you. Are you an NHL fan or are you a Hockey fan? Here’s your chance to find out.