Lost in the rhetoric and the finger-pointing in the NHL’s and NHLPA’s battle for their share of $3.3 billion are perhaps the voices that matter the most: ours, the fans.
It’s no secret that Gary Bettman fully expects us to come back again, even after him and the rest of the league decide to shut down the game we love for the third time in 18 years, all three times under his watch.
It’s pretty apparent that they don’t care about appearing greedy, cancelling games for “economic reasons” despite trumpeting 7 years of record revenue growth and signing players to career-long, $100-million contracts just a couple of months ago.
Frankly, it’s insulting.
Now, just because the fans don’t have a direct say in this process, it doesn’t mean we have to stay mute.
After all, at the end of the day, this boils down to billionaires and millionaires fighting over our money. Our money. Our money. What we pay in tickets, concessions, Center Ice subscriptions, jerseys and merchandise.
If you think cancelling games would be wrong, let the league know. If you think owners and players need to learn to share and get along for the greater good of the game, let them know. If you think a third Gary Bettman lockout will turn you off the game for good, then you best damn well raise your voice and let them know you won’t be coming back.
Gary is right about one thing. Hockey fans are the greatest and most passionate fans out there. But there is a difference between being passionate and being played for patsies.