For the second time in the past decade, the NHL is in the midst of a work stoppage. Looking back on the 2004-2005 lockout, a good case could be made that the league has done an incredible job of improving and growing the game and the league.
But this lockout is so unnecessary it hurts. The players and owners are fighting over money, as usual, but neither of them will lose as much as the fans. It’s hard for fans to side with the owners when they are arguing over how many billions of dollars they’ll make in a year.
The players shouldn’t be absolved of criticism either. They’re making millions of dollars to play a game. They just released a video for the fans with a message about the lockout, but I don’t even think it’s worth watching.
It’s hard to feel bad for a bunch of super athletic 20something’s who refuse to play because they aren’t making enough, when plenty of them are making well over a million dollars in one year.
They play a game for a living. Most hockey people I know would do anything to play in the NHL for the minimum salary.
NHL fans are the most loyal and dedicated fans, bar none. They live and die with their teams, and that is what makes the NHL so special. Teams and their fans have a special bond. But the players aren’t holding up their end of the partnership right now.
Fans come from all over, sacrificing their hard-earned money to get to watch their heroes play on the ice for a few hours a night.
They crowd around the TV at home, stay up late, talk about it all day at work. The game brings together families and creates lasting memories.
But the fans aren’t even necessarily the ones who lose the most from the lockout. The owners of bars and restaurants around the stadiums, parking lot attendants, and the guy who sells you a pretzel are all going to be hurting without the NHL.
Restaurant and bar owners count on the crowds before, after, and during games. Stadiums will find other attractions to have in place of the NHL games, but it won’t be anywhere near as consistent or profitable.
The owners and players are equally greedy. Both sides are to blame for this lockout. Just know that no matter how it gets resolved, neither of them will be the true loser.