Whoop-dee frickin’ do! Hockey is back!
Dear NHL Fantasy Hockey Fans;
Hockey is back and despite my role as a fantasy hockey writer… my immediate first reaction was “Who freakin’ cares!”
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a little bitter about the way things went down. I mean… c’mon guys… you knew when the agreement was going to end… you couldn’t have started negotiating heavily a year to a year and a half prior in order to avoid all this mess?
What irks me the most about it all, is the changes are minimal and it essentially seemed like a personal pissing match between Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, just as hockey was building steam with a new TV deal, exposure on ESPN, and was poised to battle baseball and basketball for popularity among the big four sports in North America.
All that headway gone! Now it’s back to square one for the league and players and to top it all off you have a slew of pissed off fans to boot.
One thing I’ve always learned if you have a good product or a winning team, the people will come. If you make fans feel like they’re part of the experience then they’ll be there for life. The honus isn’t on the players association to try to make the game better long term, it’s on the teams hiring and firing the appropriate people and putting their fans first and giving them a quality product on the ice.
If the players really cared about the long term of the sport and not just their long term paychecks, they would have gotten things settled earlier to capitalize on the game’s growing popularity and see the league and team revenues go up, meaning their share of the pie gets bigger as well. What most people seem to forget about these situations, are that they are a partnership, if you don’t care about the other side of the coin, then you’re only hurting yourself, since they are intertwined.
What’s good for the NHL owners will prove to be good for the NHL players and what is good for the NHL players will be good for the NHL owners.
I really hope there is no more workplace unrest in the game, since sports to all of us are a nice distraction from real life and issues you deal with in the workplace like the possibilities of union unrest and possible strikes.
We need to get things back to normal, have both the players and owners keep their yaps shut for a while and play the game and work hard to prove to the fans they are back for good and it’s a labour of love, not an impending paycheck.
After all what I’ve learned about hockey all over again during this lockout is there is still a lot of good hockey out there in our communities and arenas if you take the time to get out to a game or two, there’s a lot talent on the ice in those rinks, and quite frankly there seemed to be that labour of love out there, which made me excited about hockey again; despite my anger about the situation as a whole.
I’m happy you’re back NHL hockey, but you’ll still need to earn back my unbridled passion, with a good product, hard work, some modesty and a true love of the game.