A lot of people have asked me “How do you feel about a possible NHL lockout?” or “What are you gonna do if there is no hockey!?”
Below is both my answer, and what I would tell both the NHL and the NHLPA if anyone actually cared about what I had to say.
Dear NHL and NHLPA,
Hi. You don’t know me. I’m not one of the people that matters much to you. I’m not a player. I’m not an executive. I’m not one of the people fighting over a record-breaking revenue of $3.3. billion.
I’m just a fan.
This may come as a surprise to you, but it’s because of me, and hundreds of thousands of other fans like me, that you enjoyed those record revenues.
You see, I spent money, money I didn’t really have, to go watch my team on a pretty awesome Stanley Cup Final run.
Other fans did the same. While their team may not have made it as far, they still came out and supported their favorite sport, their favorite team.
They watched in greater numbers, as the increase in television ratings showed.
But that doesn’t matter to millionaires fighting other millionaires over how to split up billions.
I’m not on either side.
I fully expect the players to try to get as much money as they can. They are the ones performing. They are the reason we go out to watch the games. They take on all the risk of injury. If someone is offering a “ridiculous amount of money,” it would only be ridiculous to not take it.
On the other hand, the bottom line is the NHL is a business. And like every business owner, the goal is to get a return on your investment and make as much of a profit as possible. A lot of fans forget that the only expense isn’t player contracts. There are building leases, worker’s salaries, etc.
Aside from the people who will be out of a job because of a lockout, the people who need that job to support their families, I don’t care about any of those issues. I don’t see a penny of that $3.3 billion. I contribute to it.
What I care about is hockey.
The current collective bargaining agreement ends on September 15th.
Gary Bettman has said that if there is not a new CBA in place by the 15th, the players will be locked out.
Here is the sad truth: the longer this goes on, the more I hope a lockout does occur.
I will save thousands of dollars. I am a small-business owner, and I struggle to pay my bills every month. By not being able go and support my team because of a lockout, I will have more money available for other things.
I will be able to attend more Red Bulls games, which are drastically cheaper to attend than NHL games anyway. They’re also, sadly, more fun to attend because they know that middle-aged men and women like to go to sporting events to yell and scream and drink, and don’t frown upon people making some noise.
But that’s a whole other issue.
I will be able to buy a couple of cases of beer for the same price that it would cost me to buy two beers at a game.
While I need a new Devils jersey to replace the one I have of a former Devils player who left for his “hometown team,” I won’t buy one. What for?
I might actually go catch a movie in a movie theater! I haven’t done that in awhile, mostly because I never seem to have a few extra bucks to go see a movie and buy a $9 popcorn. You see, I spend pretty much all the “extra money” I have, which I don’t really have, on hockey.
But with a lockout, I just might have those few extra bucks.
The regular season is scheduled to open on October 11th.
If the regular season doesn’t start on that day, I will not attend a single game this season, whenever “this season” starts. IF it starts.
If there is no season, I will not attend a single game next season.
The following season would be up in the air for me.
When economic times are as tough as they are, when people need to decide how they’re going to spend every dollar, especially “entertainment” dollars, people fighting over billions and not caring about the people that helped them get to that point is not what anyone wants to see.
Eventually, I would go to games again. I’ll always be a hockey fan. I’ll always be a Devils fan.
Hell, maybe I would even find cheaper ticket prices when I decided to go back! You know, the thing Mr. Bettman told fans they’d see after the last lockout. The thing fans never saw.
In the meantime, I would learn to enjoy some other things during the “hockey months,” while the fighting over money continued.
So, by not being able to decide how to split up a few billion, you will lose my couple of thousand.
I came right back after the last lockout. But, fool me once…
I’m only one fan, so I probably don’t matter much to you.
But I doubt I’m the only one that feels this way.
If you’re a fan of hockey, no matter what team, and feel the same way, feel free to comment below.
If you think I’m way off and couldn’t disagree more with my thinking, let me know why.