So, here we are yet again, in the midst of yet another NHL Lockout. Are you surprised it got this far? I certainly am not, because if there is one thing we have learned during Gary Bettman’s tenure as commissioner, it is that greed will always win out. I will spare you the sentimental “I want hockey back!” jargon and get straight to the point: I am absolutely appalled and disgusted, not just that there is a lockout, but because both sides would not even meet on deadline day, apparently being so far apart that it would not have mattered. They did not even make a symbolic attempt to at least show us they were working down to the last second. You know what that says? They don’t care. They never have, and they never will, at least not about the people who aren’t raking in the millions and billions like they are. I am going to put the fans aside for a moment and tell you who I really feel sorry for. How about all the arena employees who are barely making $30,000 a year, trying to feed their families, who may have to be let go because of less events? How about all the part-time concessions workers and ushers just happy to have a job? And in smaller cities, what about the nearby restaurants and their owners and workers who depend on crowds coming in before and after 41 home games to fill a large part of their income? Those are the people I am saddened for.
I am upset, yes, but I am also not going to let this ruin my life. Unfortunately, it has become a case of “If they don’t care about me, I won’t care about them”, and because of that, this is going to be the first and only post regarding the NHL Lockout that I will make. I am not going to devote one more word of space on this blog, nor moment of brainpower attempting to type them, until the day comes when the lockout is actually over…if that day ever comes. There will be no updates, no messages of hope, no denouncements of idiocy and greed. The NHL simply will not exist on this blog, and I advise that other blogs give it the same treatment. They do not deserve attention of any kind, because there is nothing to say in disgust that has not been said already through four work stoppages in 20 years, three of which that have actually cost games.
The NHL remains the only professional sports league in the world to lose an entire season of games, and they barely survived that, only to actually see it thrive in the next eight years. Now here is another one looming, ready to destroy everything that has been built and accomplished; destroyed by the very same people who caused the problem, in dolling out these massive contracts to players then complaining the players make too much money. All I do know is, if we lose out on another complete season, the NHL will be done. Period. There will be no chance for recovery because there are only so many times people can take being slapped in the face before they will finally walk away.
My friend described his feelings about the situation perfectly on Facebook last night, and I just wanted to share it with you, because I could not have said it any better: “As a child, I merely asked why they didn’t play. As a teen, I didn’t understand the need for a change. As an adult, I’m just mad. Just completely furious. Watching billionaires complain about the salaries of millionaires when they’re the ones throwing these contracts around like nothing. They’re making 50% more than they did the last time they negotiated and they have the nerve to complain and say “we pay our employees too much”, when they’re the root of the problem in the first place? To put salt in the wound, you’re not even going to bother to negotiate in good faith to the wire? No, that’s too good. You didn’t even show up to the goddamn table today.”
There is an old saying that goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” We have now hit the trifecta with Mr. Bettman. How much more are we going to take? How much loyalty do we actually have? More importantly, full season lost or not, how will you react when or if hockey returns?