It would be a disservice to all the loyal, passionate, and hardcore hockey fans that visit this site for me not to forewarn you all right now that this article comes nowhere near proper journalistic etiquette nor does it take a neutral stance to appease the masses. So read on if you choose, or simply hit the little “x” button located at the top right-hand corner of your browser’s window (or left -hand corner if you’re on a Mac). But if you decide to read on, open that mind up as much as you possibly can and then latch on to the emotion I currently feel and clench down on it like a Great White shark immobilizing its prey.
I will not bring up specific financial figures. I will not discuss technicalities. And I certainly will not take sides. I’ll leave that up to the readers to type away in the comment section until their hands fall off. I am here to discuss the one staple item that has remained consistent in every arena, stadium, court, course, and park, through thick and thin, throughout the history of sports and that is the sole reason any sports even exist: The fans.
Don’t tell that to the NHL or the NHLPA, though, who are in a war of attrition with one another and who, apparently, refuse to give two shits about the people that keep their businesses and contracts afloat by purchasing tickets, merchandise, and anything and everything that possesses the ability for a team’s logo or player name to be slapped on it and sold.
I’ve read, ad nauseum, about the financial differences causing so much strife between the two egotistical, money-hungry parties. And aside from the handful that actually care more about the game (God forbid – they should be shunned!) than they do about the money (which I HIGHLY commend, by the way), the nihilistic tendencies between the two sides make even the most mundane hockey fan want to gouge out their eyes, chop off their limbs, and dive head first and naked down a slide made of razor blades sharpened by the world’s most notorious Samurai into a pool of salt water. Yeah. How’s THAT for a visual?
“Complete and utter bullshit” is perhaps the best way I can begin to describe the ridiculous goings-on between the NHL and NHLPA right now. Seriously? We wait until August, one month before training camps open and preseason starts, to begin discussing the impending future of a league that fought back from its last work stoppage and that has made a fan base fall in love with it? ONE month? One month to contemplate how big of a stick and which direction to turn it as it gets shoved up the NHL fan base’s ass? This is absolutely unacceptable.
And for those who supposedly “understand” why the NHL is upset or why the NHLPA feels it has a valid argument, and who want to continue being apologists for a league that would not, for a second, think twice about you, the fan (I don’t know how much more proof you need other than the current ridiculousness), then go ahead and continue to keep your head under the sand and write your pieces about the technicalities and complete validations as to how you feel for either side or why there is a disconnect or why Gary Bettman is doing what is best for the league or why Donald Fehr is doing what is best for the players. These people have one job: Piss the other guy off. Sounds a lot like modern day political douche-baggery to me!
Is it Bettman’s fault? Yup. Is it the owners’ fault for overspending? Yup. Is it the players’ and the agents’ fault for accepting and demanding more? Yup. It is ALL of their faults.
There are fans out there making one-one hundredth of what the NHL and NHLPA individuals make. These fans use THEIR hard-earned money to watch YOU and THIS is how you treat them?
Stop the petty arguing. Stop the “woe is me” mentality. Just STOP the bullshit. The fans, while not behind the financial disagreements, see right through you all. Not because we understand the effort it takes to make everyone financially happy, but because we understand the intangibles that are associated with rooting for a team and a sport. The intangibles are constantly getting lost in these situations. The fans see the PRINCIPLE of the matter. The NHL and NHLPA do not see those intangibles nor do they see those principles. They see the principle as it relates to their narcissistic motives.
There is nothing that the NHL or NHLPA can tell me to convince me that what they want is right. Nothing. I watch the sport because I love the sport, not because I think the players or the owners deserve oodles and oodles of cash. That is not my job. My job, as a fan, is to watch them play. And their job, as a player or owner, is to have them play. If there is no play, there is no season. If there is no season, they are not doing their jobs. If they are not doing their jobs, I can’t do my job as a fan.
Do I want both parties to read this? Sure. But they’ve conditioned themselves so much to focus on the financial aspect of the game (which, okay, is PART of their job) that the very thought of the significance of the roots of fandom has become a foreign philosophy to them – a distant, dying star that isn’t even visible with the most powerful telescope in the world. They spew out mouth vomit to the fan base in an effort to appease them. But the only people they are appeasing are the brain-dead fans who somehow think they actually care about us. Please.
There are a million other things to include in this article, but I’m spent and I’ve probably lost readers. But I don’t care. If the only satisfaction I get out of this entire toxic, humiliating, virulent, and repulsive series of events is to write it down on paper and get my emotions out, then so be it. It means 10 times more to me than what any of them would ever try to say to me as to why they feel they have a valid argument.
Note to the NHL and NHLPA: You WILL lose fans. You WILL lose respect. You WILL, once again, be the laughingstock of the entire sports world. To that, I’ll sit back, shake my head, and say, “You deserve it.”
If there is no season; if there is only a partial season, then the NHL and NHLPA will have epically failed all of us.
I’m pissed off and you should be too.
Rant with me on Twitter: @HockeyGuy_Chris
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