With the NHL lockout behind us and anticipation building ahead of a season that will start next week, a lot of the discussion surrounding the league has started to focus on actual hockey again. Not the business of hockey, but lineups, coaches, potential roster movement, the salary cap, and so on. It’s great.
But for a lot of fans there remains a sour taste in their mouths, brought on by just how ridiculous this whole thing was to begin with. Why did this have to drag on and wipe half a season for a deal that many people could see was there since October? Fans are still pissed, and I can totally understand.
While it seems like most have simply rejoiced at the thought of the NHL returning, some have decided to stick to their idea of punishing the league for locking them out of watching the game they love, whether it’s on television or at the arena. Many have said that the league basically isn’t apologizing enough, or haven’t brought forth initiatives to “win the fans back.”
Personally I could care less for that garbage. For a team to apologize to me in a statement on their website or an email means nothing, as it was pretty clear they all banded together to stop the game from happening in order to put together a business deal. It is what it is, or was what it was. The lockout was frustrating, but all things considered, we only missed out on 32 games of hockey or so.
Now, if people want to go ahead and punish the league by not returning to their seats or television sets, that’s their choice. I can understand if fans want to try hurting the NHL’s wallet. My only advice (which probably isn’t worth much) is this: don’t punish yourself to punish the NHL.
I was watching The Reporters on TSN yesterday and the crew on there brought up this issue. Steve Simmons mentioned that fans should perhaps just go to the games but avoid concession stands and whatnot. Hot dogs, nachos, beer, whatever. I could sort of see his point, making it by far the smartest thing Simmons has ever said. But then Cathal Kelly, who writes for The Star made a much better point; why rob yourself of your own in-game experience in an attempt to punish the NHL? And he’s absolutely right. If I’m at an NHL game and hungry for some nachos, I could take a few dollars out of the NHL’s hands by staying in my seat, but I’m still going to be hungry. I just don’t really see how I’m any further ahead. I guess I’m “sticking it to the NHL”, but again, I still want nachos.
The same goes for watching at home. I know many people have said fans should avoid the NHL for a week when it returns, to make a statement. Fair enough, make your statement. I’ll be hanging out watching hockey. If you’re fine with that, it’s all good. But if it’s going to make you unhappy, you should probably reconsider.
Maybe I’m a blind follower of the NHL. A sheep. But it would make me unhappy to be somewhere else while my buddies are drinking beer and watching the Leafs game, and I think any time you’re unhappy when you don’t need to be sounds pretty awful. So like the title says, punish the NHL if you feel you need to, but seriously look at whether you’re punishing yourself as well.
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