At long last, the suspense is over and we finally have a Hockey season to look forward to again. The NHL lockout had gone on for 113 days and looked like there was little hope for an agreement. National media was reporting there was basically zero progress in negotiations, with talk constantly breaking down or at a standstill. Consequently, in the process of Gary Bettman (NHL Commissioner) and Donald Fehr(NHLPA Executive Director) trading blows like claymation figures, 625 out of 1230 total NHL games were lost. This was something nobody wanted and tried to wane from on a consistent basis. To much of the degrin of Bettman, his legacy will be surmounted on the fact that he was known for work stoppages, since this was his third so far in his tenure.
During there stint of unemployment, many NHL players took their skills overseas playing in many European Leagues. This was a way to, not only keep fresh and defined, but to continue to play the sport they love, even if the league associated with them is stagnant. Some of the players that decided to stay local, in the hopes of better news, were actually buying their own ice time in many local rinks around town. Along with this space, also came with a few restrictions like not being able to don their own jerseys or being able to use their team lockers. This seems like a small price to pay in order to stay focused and alert.
I have to say that, in my opinion, the world of sports obviously is a business that I will never understand. Owners and players seem like they make a good living to play the sport they so love and cherish. Therefore, why they would collectively take the chance of losing the fan base that, to a degree pays their salary and supports them to the end, is astonishing. There were issues of max player contracts, elimination of signing bonuses, and reducing player revenue shares. All of these issues surround money, the same money, we as fans pay for tickets, parking, and merchandise.
The question amongst us all as fans is, what will are feelings towards the sport of Hockey now become? Will the average fan just walk away from the game completely? Will the extreme fan become less loyal in the way he views the sport? These are interesting questions that I would love to hear the answer to also. I, myself will probably remain the same average viewer I always have been. How about you?…………Feel free to comment below to see how each others opinion are either swayed one way or another….