After 113 days without a hockey season, the players’ association and the NHL finally reached a tentative agreement on Jan. 6. As a life-time hockey fan, I am glad to see that they did not cancel an entire season over this argument; however, they have frustrated unforgiving fans around North America… including me.
The NHL and the players’ association have reached a new low for themselves. Not only did they wait until the last second to reach this ten-year agreement, they demonstrated how they put themselves before their fans.
For example, Hurricanes season ticket holders were given two options: receive a refund and lose their seats, or pay for a full season and take a ten percent discount on next year’s seats.
Secondly, they waited so long to reach a deal where both sides were happy that nobody will win this season. The shorter game schedule will bring in less revenue for the owners, the players will be tired with a packed season and the fans will not be able to attend as many games.
How about Columbus and Ann Arbor? They were supposed to host the All-Star game and the Winter Classic game, respectively, but now neither will get the attention nor the tourists they were entitled to.
The worst part, in my opinion, is the fact that these lockouts are not promoting the game of hockey. When the NHL stopped playing back in 2004, I stopped playing street hockey. Hockey only continues to grow when the NHL is playing.
This year’s lockout caused many hockey fans to turn to football or basketball for entertainment instead. Personally, I did too, and I don’t know if I really want to follow hockey this year if there is only half a season to watch.
Although the NHL owners and the NHLPA say they want what is best for everyone, they either are too greedy or don’t care that they represent this international sport. If they continue to have a lockout every six years, sooner or later hockey will lose all credibility as well.