By Marfar (David Hes)
Having written on this blog before a couple of times, the topic was hockey, more specifically, the numerous thrills and occasional disappointments the Rangers provided for us last season. Also included in my musings was how our favorite hockey team could improve for the 2012-13 season. All of that seems to be in serious jeopardy as a lockout looms, becoming more probable with each passing day.
Why would the owners and participants of a sport which has not fully caught on in the USA and is still a distant fourth place among the four major team sports be on the precipice of taking a risk of driving away a significant portion of its fan base just at a time when a major TV network is carrying its games, when its popularity finally seems to be growing and when at least some of its players are growing name recognition in the sports industry?
This almost seems like a suicide pact between the players and owners. Is it greed or stupidity or a little bit of both? As for the owners, signing players to multi-year contracts for mega-millions, and this includes a majority of teams engaging in this practice, doesn’t alleging a shortfall in revenues and lack of profit fly in the face of this practice? And players whose salaries are slowly increasing to the level of athletes in some major sports, what sense does it make for you to jeopardize your growth both on and off the ice?
As a person who normally does not advocate compromise, but sticking to your guns for something in which you strongly believe, I find myself having to rethink that approach when it comes to this stalemate. There has got to be some way, some understanding on the part of both sides that this impending lockout will hurt everybody connected with the great sport of hockey. If there are owners out there who cannot afford their franchise, well, then put it on the market and sell it to someone who can, and if that’s not possible, contract the league and the quality of play will improve with less dilution of talent. If this meets with the objection of the players, that’s too bad. What makes hockey different from any other industry? If there are too many employees that the company cannot afford to pay, unfortunately the payroll gets cut. Millions in this country can explain to you that sad reality.
I beseech both the owners and players to wake up and start smelling the coffee. This mess must be settled now. The risk both sides run is stopping in its tracks the growth of our great sport. Your fans are excited about the start of a new season. But we also have lives where there are a lot of other diversions to entertain us. We love hockey, but we don’t NEED hockey. But you need us. Just go into a room, shut the door, park your egos outside the door, or put them on ice if you will, find middle ground and settle this thing now. If you don’t, you will all be sorry. And you will very possibly have introduced a brand new word into the sports lexicon—hockeycide.