Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hell No, We Won't Go: Stop the Lockout

I am sick of bureaucracy. At the top of my list right now is the potential NHL lockout. I am a puckhead hockey fan all the way. I don't care if it's minors or majors, the hometeam or not--when it comes to hockey, it's just fun to watch. And right now, the ridiculous owners and the not-quite-as-ridiculous-but-still-ridiculous players are debating how much money gets distributed among them all.
    The reason this one gets under my skin is I was old enough to remember the last lockout. I was in 11th grade, and I even wrote an English paper about how stupid I thought the lockout was. (If I ever find it, I'll repost it here--me at 16 is probably pretty funny.) Back then, I blamed Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL. Today, I still kinda do. This guy's on a path to have 3, count 'em, 3, lockouts during his tenure, and the ones who suffer aren't the owners or the players--it's the fans.
    We support our teams. We buy their stuff. We watch their games on TV and when we can, in person. We love those guys. And when somebody says they don't get to play until they come to an agreement about cashflow, we get angry. And you don't want to see hockey fans angry. You wouldn't like us when we're angry.
   
What in the hell do you expect millions of hockey fans across the US and Canada to do when their teams don't get to play this winter? We would watch minor league hockey, but unfortunately, not all those games are widely televised. We could watch basketball or football, but we don't like basketball and football nearly as much as we like hockey. They're poor substitutes for a fast, fun and crazy sport we know as hockey.
    What really gets me is that the teams are still promoting the new season like they have no reason to think it won't happen. Come on, buy your season tickets! Check out opening night! Buy a new jersey for the 2012-13 season! You know what, you settle your petty financial differences and guarantee me a season first, and then I'll feel better about handing over my money for a few games.
    So, there are a few angry hockey fan movements rising up: one girl has started a petition to get Bettman to resign. There are Twitter and Facebook accounts cropping up, @againstlockout, @stopthelock2012, @unfollowNHLSept are just a few.

Check out these articles and blogs for more info:
  • http://www.boston.com/sports/blogs/shesgamesports/2012/08/gary-bettmans-remarks-about-nhl-fans-nice-try-but-wrong.html
  • http://nyrnation.net/nhl-fans-plan-social-media-protest-of-potential-lockout/
  • http://unfollownhlsept15.tumblr.com/
    The Unfollow NHL September 15 group is one of the largest, with almost 2,000 fans in just a short period of time (I think I read a week, but don't quote me on that). These guys are asking fans to protest the lockout by unfollowing and unliking NHL accounts, team accounts, and player accounts, as well as boycotting NHL and team websites, and avoiding purchasing official NHL gear.
    While the group doesn't think their efforts will actually prevent a lockout, it's more about making a statement. The kind of statement that says, hey, we matter. We're your paycheck. Don't forget it. That, I'm all for. Hockey players already make a hell of a lot less than most major league teams, but that doesn't mean they're poor. They make good money. The owners make better money. And that's probably the way it'll always be. But for the two sides to get greedy and demand more, not only that, ask for cutbacks from the other, they're not hurting each other. They're hurting the fans that pay into the pot where all that money comes from.
    So, if you're a hockey fan like me, whether you support the Avalanche, the Kings, the Rangers, or whoever, stand up for your love of the game and join in on the protest of the potential NHL lockout this season.
Go Avs :) Hope you get to play this year!

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