I’m a huge fan of the National Hockey League. More specifically, I cheer for the Columbus Blue Jackets. My wife and I go to up to ten games a season through a team ticket package. We also drive three hours to get to Nationwide Arena.
I cannot tell you how much CBJ apparel we own. From little things like a pen with the Jackets’ insignia to multiple jerseys. In fact, we planned on buying a couple new jerseys this season as well since a certain Rick Nash no longer plays for the team (that would just be awkward).
On our trips to the Arena District, we pay to park. We also frequent the establishments in the area for food and beverage prior to game time. Inside we cheer loud, buy a drink to keep our throat wet and then cheer some more. We may stop for food on the way home as well.
For the other 72 games we subscribe to DirecTV’s NHL Center Ice. On top of that, the All-Star Game is in Columbus this season and we already have tickets to see it…those weren’t cheap.
When the lockout hit, I was floored. I kind of assumed you’d reach a deal relatively quickly since you’ve already had a full season lockout just eight years ago. I mean you’d have to be completely stupid to do it again, right? RIGHT?
I stopped wearing anything with an NHL or CBJ logo, making my attire a bit more limited. When my ticket agent called to offer 4% interest on my Blue Jackets account if I kept the money with the team, I said no and I want a refund.
A preseason game and opening night, two games we had tickets for, came and went. I shrugged it off almost knowing I’d never see a game this season.
The NHLPA and the NHL owners were essentially refusing to talk to each other as if they were children.
Then, on October 16, the National Hockey League came out with a proposal. It was a proposal that I never thought I’d see from the owners. A 50/50 revenue sharing split. This was significantly less than anything I thought the owners would ask for. When terms of the deal were announced, it said that even current contracts would go untouched. In other words, a majority of players would keep their full salary for this season and future seasons to come.
Donald Fehr said he wasn’t sure if this was a real effort by the NHL or not. David Backes made an asinine statement that basically said it is like a person who makes $50,000 a year getting dropping to $40,000 a year, even though their company is doing great. Backes makes millions while the people that pay that salary, make nowhere near that.
So, NHLPA, here are some questions for you:
- What will it be like when you make next to nothing this season?
- How long until you get that money back?
- What feelings will you have knowing you are collectively destroying a great sport in the United States?
- Remember when everyone was saying you “just want to play”? Why aren’t you playing?
- My life will go on just fine without the NHL, but what about the merchandiser who sold me the clothes and jerseys? What about the employees of the restaurants in the Arena District who rely on the 41+ nights a year for big crowds? What about the parking attendants who will work fewer events? The arena employees, the vendors, the ticket sellers? Do you ever think of anyone but yourselves?
- To those playing in other professional leagues, how do you feel about taking the job of someone who is barely getting by playing hockey?
- How much money is enough money when you have millions in the bank?
The time has come to show you aren’t a bunch of money hungry athletes. The time has come to prove to the fans that you want to play hockey. Are you man enough to take a small cut in pay while still being of the top paid professions by a long shot?
Man up and sign this deal because you are lucky the NHL is offering this much to you. When you saw this, any reaction other than high-fiving one another is an insult to NHL fans.
Your fan base that is decreasing daily.