I told myself I’d try to stay away from thinking about hockey, but thoughts aren’t always in your control.
And my own favorite team didn’t help either.
The Chicago Blackhawks decided to hold a charity hockey game with current and past ‘Hawk players, giving fans the chance (and most likely only chance) to see ‘Hawk players on the ice this hockey season.
I couldn’t attend the event, so I tried very hard to avoid the news and pictures of it because I knew it would only throw my already fragile psychological state into complete chaos.
I looked through dozens of pictures, watched the Harlem Globetrotter-like antics put on during the game, and realized the event was one hell of a good time. As I had feared, the event made the lockout even more despicable.
It’s scary how the process of dealing with the NHL lockout has made me follow the five stages of grief so closely.
Here’s a short and funny video explaining the five stages.
The new CBA negotiations hung over last year’s hockey season, yet I saw no fan really express pessimism about a new deal being made. I know I used recent lockout scares in other leagues as precedent for what I hoped would happen between the NHL and NHLPA; there would maybe be a short time of disagreement, but there would eventually be an agreement.
In short, I was in denial that anything like what happened in 2003 would happen again.
Even as reports surfaced of negotiations not going well, I still held optimism about there being a season. There just wasn’t any way my beloved NHL would not happen.
The NHL’s proposal, the NHLPA’s three counter proposals, and the extremely quick denial of such proposals by the NHL cemented the idea both sides were more focused on getting the upper hand on the other side than coming together and making a season happen.
It was then that I also entered stage two: anger.
I didn’t want anything to do with the NHL. I swore to not wear my jersey until the lockout ended. I was done with all the foolishness. No longer was I going to talk or think about the NHL because they didn’t care about me as a fan, so why should I care about them?
The weather in Indiana has shifted into being overcast and in the 40s. This makes for perfect hockey weather.
My hometown friends thought so too, so they decided they were going to start playing hockey…all while I am stuck in a part of Indiana where I am complimented on my Redskins jersey when I am actually wearing a Blackhawks jersey.
My anger turned into a desperate plea.
If I couldn’t participate in hockey, I at least wanted to watch it in the time being.
Since I couldn’t play or watch hockey, I found myself on YouTube watching old Blackhawks videos.
Instead of making me happy, the videos made me cry.
My hockey depression was a result of a long chain of irrational thoughts. I entered into a state of mind where I was convinced the lockout would never end and I’d never get to see the Blackhawks play again.
These videos were all I had left. There would be no new Blackhawk memories, no new friends made at the United Center, and no new nights of watching the games with my friends.
Once I slept on the issue, I realized how ridiculous such thoughts were. The news didn’t get any better, though. That same morning, the 2013 Winter Classic was canceled.
It was then that I finally accepted the fate of the 2012-13 NHL season. The canceling of the league’s most popular event signaled to me the league had stopped caring whether or not there was a season.
Plain and simple: the NHL season is not going to happen.