As NHL Cancels Games, Who Cares?

As disturbing as it is, it’s a great question, and one that was discussed by Craig Kanalley of Huffington Post.

The NHL sure does have a big problem on it’s hands, as Kanalley notes. But the lockout might be the least of it. The fact is, the majority of people in the U.S. just don’t seem to care that your regularly scheduled hockey isn’t being played.

Only once before today — the day the NHL announced the cancellation of games through November 30th — was anything even remotely related to the NHL visible on the worldwide trend lists. The other happened just over a week ago when the 50/50 offer was made by the league in an attempt to save the full season. (And for the record, all that’s trending right now is the date: Nov. 30.)

Next time it’ll likely trend is when the Winter Classic starts being threatened. CAN’T WAIT!!

I understand that it’s not fair to say that every single person doesn’t care.

Our neighbors to the north who hockey their national sport and have seven NHL teams? They care. People in die hard hockey cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philly, Boston, and Denver (among others)? Of course they care, and they are suffering without hockey.

But when you compare the outcry in 2004 to the one now; it’s almost nonexistent.

Here’s a better question: Do the players who are heading overseas to continue making millions or the teams care? Do the owners care? Does the league care? Do they care what they’re doing to the fans that have invested their time and money into the sport? Do they care that, despite an insane amount of lockouts over the past two decades, those same fans, and scores more, continued to fill arenas throughout North America, bringing the excitement and popularity level to an all-time high last season?

Are they thinking about all of the establishments that they’re effecting with this work stoppage? Bars on 5th Avenue in Pittsburgh, across the street from the Consol Energy Center that are filled 82 nights a year — empty without hockey. How about the employees who made a living working for teams, event staff at the stadium?

My guess is no, and the statement that was released today by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly more or less proves me right:

“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action. By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game Regular Season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.

“We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the Players and the Clubs — one that will be good for the game and our fans.”

I call complete and total B.S.

Even in giving the news that games are being canceled, this statement by the league is filled with a bunch of political, finger-pointing, rhetorical nonsense. If both sides actually gave a rat’s ass about the fans who made the sport what it is, they’d be at the table constantly trying to work something out.

Instead, both sides continue to bicker back and forth and refuse to be civil with one another.

Something that Kanalley points out in his article couldn’t be more true: “When you’re competing against the big three in American sports — the NFL, MLB, and NBA — you can’t afford to take time off,” he writes.

The more time off the NHL takes, the more time people have to forget about it.


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I'm an editor for Associations Now, a magazine pubished by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership. I live in Springfield, VA with my amazing wife, and am enjoying the ride that life is taking me on.


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