Labor disputes and the fear of a lockout continue to plague the NHL even after a full week of negotiations and proposals.
This is third lockout scare in NHL’s commissioner Gary Bettman’s tenure. If a lockout occurs, it would be the second in less than 10 years. This certainly isn’t winning him any support from fans and players, yet it doesn’t seem to have pushed Bettman towards finding a quick solution.
Regardless of the situation, three lockout scares in a tenure is unacceptable.
You would think Bettman and the NHL would find a more efficient way to deal with such problems, but proposing ridiculous first-time proposals that divide both sides even more is still the norm.
You can tell from reading articles and blogs on the subject that there is a haze of frustration among everyone, and rightfully so. The NHL may not have the fan base or the income of the NFL, MLB, or NBA, but the NHL does have a very solid and, most importantly, dedicated fan base.
But the recurring labor disputes and naive ways of dealing with them are a punch to the face of fans.
This potential lockout isn’t going to diminish my love for the game of hockey, but it has created in me a very hostile and distrusting attitude towards the NHL.
Workers shouldn’t just be grateful to the business for hiring them. The business should also be grateful for being able to hire a worker. That’s what the NHL owners don’t understand.
Sure, they have the millions to own and run teams, but they’ve forgotten who enables them to continue to make money: the players and fans. Pissing both sides off will not help owners in any way.
If the owners’ stinginess continues into the future, putting the season in any kind of jeopardy, I wouldn’t be surprised if fans begin to take it out on the NHL by not going to games and buying merchandise. I love my hockey, but I have very little sympathy to two groups of millionaires debating the differences of thousands of dollars.
Don’t get me wrong, I support the NHLPA, who took the bulk of the sacrifices in the last lockout. They will probably end up taking more sacrifices this year. But the hierarchy of both sides have almost completely been blinded by money. And they’ve forgotten about us fans.
The league and the owners are only hurting themselves if there’s no season this year. If they fail to see that now because of their greed, they deserve every negative feeling and consequence that comes their way.