Hockey Returns: Will the fans forgive and forget?

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“This blog was supposed to be my first blog not related to sports, but out of the blue the NHL has ended the lockout and I had said I would only write articles and pieces about Hockey once the lockout ended so here you go.”

Words many did not think they would hear until the summer time or even later. The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to a tentative deal and now the NHL can start the season. The new deal will run for 10 years till September 2022, with an option to terminate the deal after eight years. The players managed to fix their pension plan, they have agreed to a limit on signing free agent contracts which is 7 years and 8 if it is a contract extension with their own team and the somehow (although it was agreed upon a while ago). They managed to agree on a 50-50 split on revenue which honestly was a no-brainer because 50-50 is equal, but I digress, there are still a few votes that need to go through with the board of governors and players association to have an agreement with this deal and there are a few other things to be ironed out, but all in all the NHL is back! There is of course the problem of what has been the cost for this ridiculous lockout that should have ended a while ago, or maybe should have never happened in the first place.

The NHL now faces an uphill battle with gaining the fans trust and support back. The NHL and the NHLPA aided in damaging their images while the lockout was going on in the fall, for the longest time it was just a PR battle and who would win it. They were so wound up about winning that portion of the lockout that they seemed to forget the fans did not care whatsoever about who was at fault and who was right or wrong, all they knew was it was both sides that were at fault and wrong. Many of the fans have turned their back on the NHL and gave their allegiance to other sports like the NFL, NBA, or just did other things instead of watching hockey and it is completely understandable since throughout the past 20 years there has been a total of 3 lockouts 1994-95, 2004-2005 and the one we just went through 2012-2013 so you cannot blame the fans who have given up on this league, they have been given many reasons to give up.

There are many fans especially Canadian hockey fans who are happy the NHL is back, but are very skeptic on fully trusting the league and it may take them a long time to trust them again, there has been so many issues that the NHL has dropped the ball on that I am even afraid to make a list, but I will denote some. Some of the big issues was the fact that it took the league forever to make penalties and rules against head shots, the fact that a majority vote for the honors is about 8 owners to agree not the full 30, the constant bad judgment by people like Colin Campbell when it came to suspensions and fines. There was also Gary Bettman calling out Air Canada when they threatened to pull their sponsorship after the Chara and Pacioretty incident when the NHL did nothing about it, the list goes on and on. Of course there is the fact that not everything is perfect, but this lockout was a joke. It made the NHL look pathetic, the fact that it was Millionaires vs. Billionaires made it even worse; it almost made the whole league look like a bunch of overpaid babies who could not get along. Yes Gary Bettman apologized, but to most fans it is a lockout too late.

Now it is time for the start of the new season to unfold and already there have been some interesting developments, the main one being Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke getting fired just days before the training camp will be beginning, which has thrown people off guard because although he has not done a great job with the Leafs at all, however, one would think that he would be given a chance until this season ended. Of course there is also the topic of the Roberto Luongo trade rumors and other rumors about signing restricted free agents like the Montreal Canadiens PK Subban. It already seems as though there was never a lockout to begin with, all of the rumors and the sports channels are analyzing every team and determining who they feel will win it all! Personally I feel that we should not forget what the NHL has put us through while they argued and lost half of a season to make rich people stay rich. I am excited, but I know I will not forget and hope that a lot of fans do not forget either. Right now though, it is time for the puck to drop and time to watch a game we all love, hockey.

So now they start up a week of training camp and then the season begins and the fans will slowly get into watching hockey and cheering for their favorite teams again and I will be no different, I will be watching the NHL and cheering for my team and going out with friends to watch the game, you know, the usual fun. However, I will not forget the fact that another season was very close to being lost because of greed. Maybe in ten years it will be a new person running the league, or at least the old boys club kicked out or let all the owners have a say in what goes on instead of 8 owners who have not been very helpful in the whole ordeal. Only time will tell what damage this lockout has done since the fans and arena employees suffered the most from it, but since I am still an avid hockey fan even though I am still a bit disgusted by this recent lockout, which again will take time to fully heal, I will be watching hockey just like many of you when the puck drops and just like many of you I’ll be cheering my team on.

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9 thoughts on “Hockey Returns: Will the fans forgive and forget?

  1. As the girlfriend of a die-hard sports fan. I mean, DIE HARD. I will never forgive. I was a few weeks away from very minimal sports which I had to endure for a very short period of time. Now, thanks to them, that idea is ruined.

    I actually proposed this idea to the sports addict of fans not forgiving. He made a good point saying that the majority of people complaining are the ones who do not go to games or support them in any other way than just watching them on the television. I am not too sure about this, I think it comes down to your area, and he would be comparing it to where we live (an hour from Toronto). A ticket to a Leafs game is beyond over priced just to watch them lose. So maybe in the GTA area, his thesis is correct.

    Overall, it is just a shame that they crushed the dreams of girlfriends living with sports addicts.

    • Most Canadian markets are way to over priced and prevent families from going Montreal has the same issue as Toronto it costs way to much. Some of the people upset with the lock-out are people who bought merchandise too.

      • I think it is absolutely disgusting on how much they are getting paid, and how they want more (yes, I realized they gave some up a few years ago) – so many people are living in poverty and they are getting paid to play a sport? It is horrible. It is also disgusting how they are idolized. For WHAT, what have they done to deserve it? Hit a puck and skate? There are so many people who have shaped and added value to humanity who are shoved aside and replaced by them. If they are THAT unhappy with their pay cheque, retire, get a 9-5 job and see what it is really like.

      • I am a huge sports fan, but the money has always grossed me out in how much these guys are making and the fact many media outlets make 2 million sound like nothing. The CFL gets my full support for the fact its not over paying and most of these guys work in the winter.

      • I agree with you completely about the CFL, however, do you feel part of the reason is due to the lack of “fans” so to speak. It is not at “popular” as the NFL – so their budget is lower?
        Along side with the CFL, the NLL which is just starting out is also humbling. I feel like those guys are doing it as they love the game and are not to the point of being money driven.
        Then again, I have no idea what I am talking about. I am merely a business student who is being trained to question everything. I just live with a sports addict.

      • These guys can’t be money driven they wont have much of a career if they want to make big bucks in the CFL, but some do catch the eye of the NFL.
        I don’t feel that there is less money in the CFL because it is lack of a following there are a lot of CFL fans out there, the NFL just has the Luxury of having a huge American Population plus Canadian fans while the CFL really caters to Canadians, although there are American fans. I think there is less money thrown around because like you said it is more for the love of the game and not to just get rich.

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