We heard a recurring theme during the NHL lockout. The
league put you, the fan, through this again because they understand their greatest
supporters are diehard hockey lovers, and those people are not going away.
Now that the work stoppage has finally ended, it’s being played
off to the same old tune. Hockey fans are just so passionate and hardcore, they
will pack arenas across the States and Canada the moment the buzzer sounds.
It’s almost as if the media is daring you to boycott.
Hockey fans may be a unique sect in many aspects, but in
this one respect they are not. Lockouts and strikes and bitter, public feuding
over collective bargaining agreements don’t keep fans away for very long in any
sport – and they shouldn’t.
Sure, none of the other major professional sports leagues
have experienced three lengthy work stoppages in less than two decades as the
NHL has. In that respect, maybe it is slightly more impressive people keep
But don’t we always go back? Did the NBA suffer any
long-lasting harm from playing a lockout-shortened schedule just a season ago? Was
Major league Baseball permanently reduced to rubble when a strike claimed the
World Series in 1994?
Obviously not. There are always fans, whether they are
baseball fans, football fans, basketball fans, or hockey fans.
That’s not to say nobody ever gets turned off by labor
strife. Some fans undoubtedly will demonstrate, whether that’s simply with
their wallets, or by swearing off the NHL altogether. Maybe a handful never
For everybody else, the allure of the game is just too
strong – but that part of the equation is not unique to hockey, nor has it ever
been, and the reason is universal. Do you really want to deprive yourself of
something that brings you so much enjoyment?
Why, because employers and employees had a financial
That’s business, and when it’s your paycheck at stake, then
you get to decide what is or isn’t worth fighting for. And while it’s a shame
it has to drag on the emotions of the consumer, at the end of the day, how were
fans wronged, truly?
The season was cut in half. That’s it. Hell, you could make
the case they did us a favor there.
Hey, come back, don’t come back – it doesn’t matter to me,
nor is it my place to say. But it doesn’t matter whether or not you come back,
either, because most fans will. Maybe not immediately or all at once – before
long though it will be like nothing ever happened.