NHL Lockout Drags On

The NHL is still in lockout mode. Talks are supposed to resume today in the stand-off, the second one in the last decade. The league had better get this resolved soon. If they don’t, they may find themselves on a permanent hiatus.

As we’ve already seen in other sports, fans do not just keep automatically showing up. Attendance is down all over the sports world. Many blame the economy. And while that is a factor, it is only part of it. The other part of it is the perceived attitudes of teams and players that their excrement does not stink, and that they live in this fantasy world where everything is fantastic and people everywhere worship them.

When players look up and see half empty grandstands, somehow that is the fault of the fans for being too stupid to realize that they are supposed to be there with bells on. Recently at a NASCAR race in Talladega, AL, Jeff Gordon (who I like by the way), said he couldn’t understand why the stands were not full and people were not lined up down the block begging to get in because the racing was so exciting. Gee, I don’t know Jeff, maybe it’s because A) when you’re house is in foreclosure and you have no idea where you’ll be living in a few months, you really have no business spending hundreds of dollars on race tickets and B) we get a little bit tired of listening to how Kurt Busch has such a terrible life and the “woe is me” whining about it.

Hey Kurt, you race cars for a living. You want a really hard life? Try working in the construction business. Or pretty much any other business for that matter. Try living in a world where if you get sick one time you can permanently ruin yourself and your family financially forever. See, that racing cars thing doesn’t sound too bad now does it. Heck, the rest of us would gladly come in last place every week to live in your world.

And that is what the NHL needs to understand. You already made your fans do without for an entire year. You know what they discovered? They discovered the same thing NBA fans and NFL fans did a year ago. They discovered that there were other ways to spend their time and money. There are college sports, high school sports, or (and this is most shocking) other things besides sports. Yes, that’s right, you can take your kids fishing. You can take them to a bowling alley, the beach, hiking, camping, or you can just take them out in the back yard and roll around in a big pile of leaves.

There is life without the NHL. And if you don’t think there is, just keep squabbling over your millions of dollars while your fans keep discovering this. And then when you get back to playing games, you can be like the guys from other sports, wondering why the seats are half empty. Or worse.

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