Itâ€™s the last week before we officially enter the realm of lockout hockey. There is of course a chance things could be resolved before that time, but with players committing to Russia, and the CHL and teams preparing ticket holders and employees for the worst, it seems we are at least going to have some delay before the highest level of hockey is played.
Understandably, fans want to believe we can do something to help influence the outcome of this situation. Some of this has taken the form of protests organized by Occupy the NHL Store and Unfollow the NHL. Others are attempting petitions with supporting Youtube videos.
I will spare you a diatribe on the futility of Online Petitions, but needless to say I became jaded towards this process after Fuddruckers ignored my constant pleas for an Edmonton location.
The reality is, despite our emotional investment in the outcome and the fact that it is our money they are debating how to split up, this is about thirty owners feeling they are not turning enough of a profit, and 700+ players who as the product feel they deserve the lionâ€™s share. Itâ€™s identical to every other labour battle since the beginning of time.
Using every airline strike as an example, you get employees who want to do their job and get a bigger cut of the revenue, you get ownership that is arguing that this is unsustainable, and you get passengers who want to fly and leave their money on the table. When the labour strife is resolved, do people choose not to fly? No. You rebook your vacation, or your work books you for the business trip they want you to go on.
The NHL will be the same. Theyâ€™ll come to deal that they can compromise on and weâ€™ll get hockey. Until then, cool it with the protests and petitions. The NHL knows we want hockey. Theyâ€™ve been charting the amount we spend on the sport and know weâ€™ll come back strong. They know we canâ€™t wait to throw money at them and they know there is a benefit to ending it sooner rather than later, but no one wants to be the side that will get the short end of the stick.
So, what can we do to speed this process along if protests wonâ€™t work? Iâ€™d argue what we need are fundraisers. If the league has more money to divvy up, then itâ€™s less of an issue of the percentage of it. With that in mind, consider the following ideas.
Donate your cans and bottles
There are plenty of worthwhile organizations that collect cans for charity so I feel guilty in telling you not to donate to them, but for our own selfish purposes, letâ€™s give to the NHL instead. Why not fill up your trunk with empties (Iâ€™m sure you have some left over from the long weekend) and back on up to the front of the Air Canada Centre and dump them out? Iâ€™m sure the GTA has enough empties floating around that we can end the lockout in a matter of days. From what Iâ€™ve seen in Edmonton and Winnipeg, there will be plenty of help coming from these cities too.
Everybody loves a fundraising Carwash
Grab some soap, water, chamoisâ€™ and if youâ€™re really wanting to draw a crowd, a speedo, and head on down to your local NHL arena and set up a car wash outside. At $20 a car at 30 NHL arenas, each fanbase is only going to need to commit to washing around a couple million cars to get hockey back on the ice.
Of course we canâ€™t forget about the players
Itâ€™s become clear from reading Allan Walshâ€™s tweets that NHL players just canâ€™t afford to live on what theyâ€™d make if their salary was rolled back or a greater escrow percentage was taken. It seems they may be struggling to clothe and feed themselves. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to send any non-perishable food you can spare, along with any clothes you no longer wear to the NHLPA offices at:
National Hockey League Players’ Association
20 Bay Street Suite 1700
You also can’t rule out the success that holding a concert had in saving Empire Records. Perhaps the solution is having RenÃ©e Zellweger sing on the roof of the NHL Store.
The only other option is to acknowledge that this is a crappy situation, and find other things to do while waiting for hockey to return. Football doesnâ€™t seem like a bad sport. If you live in Canada, odds are youâ€™re just as close to a CHL arena as you are to an NHL one. Playing hockey has always been more fun than watching it, why not join a Rec League?
For me the only thing worse than posts about the lockout (yes, I know) are the fans that are hell-bent on trying to find a resolution to it. Unless youâ€™re an experienced labour mediator, itâ€™s probably best to sit this one out and re-watch season one of Breaking Bad on Netflix (just as amazing as it was the first time you saw it.)
Itâ€™s time to shrug our shoulders and find something better to do…unless you feel like dump cans on the doorstep of the ACC.
Together we can make a difference. (no we really can’t)
Now some less preachy links…
Where will the Maple Leaf entertainment factor come into play this season?
Vintage Leaf Memories looks at the exciting loss vs. the boring win debate, and what impact MLSE has on the on ice product. One of Burkeâ€™s earliest quotes as the GM of the Leafs speaks to his desire to produce a winner that is fun to watch.
Justin Bourne vs. the ESPN Poll
This post is a couple of days old but very funny. Frankly I canâ€™t think of a single time Iâ€™ve gone to ESPNâ€™s site for hockey news, and I have never bought their magazine so their opinion matters very little to me, but itâ€™s still enjoyable when someone points out that they talk out of their ass. Maybe people will also realize their coverage of other sports isnâ€™t that great either.
Puck Daddy with a Lokomotiv Documentary
Putting things in perspective, a lockout this year is still an improvement over the horrible tragedies of the previous off-season.
Carter Ashton: The Forgotten Man in Toronto
I donâ€™t think anyone forgot about Ashton, just acknowledged that he was in over his head in the NHL and needs some time to develop in the AHL. Leafs articles are few and far between so read up on the player you â€œforgotâ€ about.
A few notes on the Summit Series reunion
In the event of a lockout please have as many tournaments and alumni games as possible please.