I miss hockey.
The regular season hasn’t even officially started yet, but I already miss it.
Knowing I won’t be able to turn on the TV October 13th and watch the Chicago Blackhawks play the Columbus Blue Jackets makes my stomach drop.
I haven’t moved my Blackhawks jersey from the back of the closet. I haven’t worn any of the NHL related t-shirts I have. And I will probably be taking down the Blackhawks banner I have hanging in my window.
The less I’m reminded about the NHL the better.
Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA have gone nowhere. Players are making their mass exodus to Europe.
Hell, even ESPN has made a deal with Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) to broadcast on ESPN3. This is surprising for a network that basically ignores the NHL during the season, but I’ll probably watch the games.
Hockey is hockey, and I need some.
For a league that is often noted for having the most loyal fans in the business, why does it seem like the NHL hates us?
I know from the fans on Twitter and from the blogosphere that I am not the only fan feeling this way.
Almost every other recent lockout threat in every other league of professional sports tried to get a deal done as fast as possible. Last week the NFL made a deal with the referees’ union just days after fans complained loud and clear about their anger over the replacement referees. Before, there wasn’t any immediate prospect of getting a deal done.
For a lockout or strike to end, it usually only takes a high volume of anger and pressure from the fans. Well, the anger and pressure is present in the NHL fans, but the owners and players don’t seem to care.
You’d think losing about $100 million that the league probably won’t see back because the preseason was cancelled would jumpstart some progress, but nope. If angering your fan base and losing hundreds of millions of dollars don’t persuade you to get a deal done, what will?
Honestly, it doesn’t seem like the two parties want this to be resolved. It’s like watching the US Congress convene. Neither side wants to compromise, thus hurting the population at large.
The league has become extremely self-centered and has lost touch with its fans. It’s a sad truth, but one that is quickly being realized.
Fans, including me, will still watch the NHL once it’s back on (whenever that happens), but the loyalty and trust is gone, and it’s going to be tough to earn it back.