Now that we are a week plus into this lockout and we have already begun losing preseason games, there is one thing above all else that is so frustrating to me it is getting hard to watch. Between all the posturing and lobbying done by both sides there is one sentiment that has continued to come out of the mouths of both sides, “this for for the fans.”
Really? For us? I’m doubting that a little bit. Before I go in to this long monologue I feel I must state that in this labour dispute I am completely for the players. They work for the money they should get a high percentage of it. The sport is going to continue making money and it has to go to someone. As much as we can all wish it went towards cheaper tickets, or less than $8 beers, it is probably not going to happen. So, if someone’s getting paid I’d prefer it to be the players who work hard, break bones and give up their bodies for what in the end, ends up being a short period of time in their life that they can do so. That being said either side that tries to convince fans that this lockout is for the good of the game and will benefit the fans is crazy.
Let us examine this statement for a minute. How can the lockout really be for the fans, which fans is it for? Is it the fans who shell out thousands and thousands of dollars for season tickets? Fans who travels hours to other city to sit in a hostile building to love their team? Or, is it for the fans here in Winnipeg who waited 15-years in between seasons, sold out a building every night, and made more noise than just about anyone, only to have the rug ripped out from under their feet the next season?
I may have this wrong but I am pretty sure this is not good for any NHL fans. Maybe I misunderstood the statement. Perhaps they meant this was good for NHL employees, like the ones in Ottawa where all Senators arena staff just lost their jobs? Perhaps it’s good for the players in the KHL or the Swedish elite league who are losing their jobs because high-end NHL talent is coming in for an undetermined amount of time and taking their places.
I understand both groups are trying to throw the blame on the other and frame it as if they are fighting for the good of the game, but please, do not treat the NHL fans like we are idiots, none of this is for us. We want hockey, we pay our hard-earned money to see the greatest players in the world play the game we love. We do not care which side makes the extra few million on top of their salaries that are already more money than most of us will see in our lifetimes. This is the third lockout I have lived through and I am only 21 years old. I have seen well over a thousand games lost. Maybe I have the pulse of the hockey fan wrong but I am pretty sure sitting at home instead of in an arena watching a team that we love is not what we want, and this lockout is all about money. None of this benefits us.