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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman Photo courtesy of  www.vancouversun.com

 

Hockey fans worst fears are close to reality

Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

While most people were lucky enough to enjoy a stress-free summer holiday, often spending their days frolicking in the water or walking along the beach holding hands with someone they met at the bar the night before, I was not so lucky.

With the threat of a National Hockey League lockout looming, I was sitting in front of my computer anxiously awaiting the announcement that would seal the fate of my beloved NHL for the 2012-13 season.

Hockey fans may remember – or rather, wish to forget – that back in 2004 the NHL, led by commissioner and general idiot Gary Bettman, was forced to cancel an entire season of play due to unresolved issues between the league and the it’s players association.

A bargaining agreement was finally reached in July 2005 after what was the longest winter of my life and also the longest work stoppage in sports history. The world rejoiced as fans once again had high quality hockey and inadequate refereeing taking place in their living rooms.

Fast forward eight years later and hockey fans are yet again stuck in the fetal position as the 2005 agreement between the two parties has expired. New issues between the NHL and the NHLPA have surfaced and history looks as if it will repeat itself.

The central issue that is currently dividing the two groups is of course, money. Essentially, the NHL thinks that they are paying out too much and the players, well, think that they deserve the same if not more money than they are currently being paid because they have to deal with the grueling job of playing hockey by day and getting as much tail as they want by night. 


"With the almost-certain lockout quickly approaching, I am now forced to contemplate what the hell I am going to do with myself through the most depressing and coldest months of the year. Thank God Vancouver Canucks fans taught me that if you don’t get the outcome that you want, the only option that you have is to riot in the streets."


As of press time, the NHL and NHLPA have suspended any further discussions and have no plans for any future meetings. With a lockout deadline set for Sept. 15, it seems as though hockey fans will be forced to once again endure an entire season without the best league in the world.

Unfortunately, with the almost-certain lockout quickly approaching, I am now forced to contemplate what the hell I am going to do with myself through the most depressing and coldest months of the year. Thank God Vancouver Canucks fans taught me that if you don’t get the outcome that you want, the only option that you have is to riot in the streets.

So, my basic plan is that after I get past the rioting stage of grief, most likely I will move into the acceptance stage where this lockout will force me to obsessively turn my attention to the NHL’s farm leagues such as the American Hockey League. I may even have to jump onto the overseas bandwagon and start religiously watching the Kontinental Hockey League.

Fans and current NHL players are not the only ones being dramatically affected by the lockout; junior players – athletes that would normally make that jump to the show this season – are taking the news quite hard.

Instead of turning professional this year – due mostly to the trickle-down effect – highly skilled junior players will be forced to stay in the Canadian Hockey League system for at least one more year.

The only upside to this is that Regina Pats fans could have the pleasure of seeing standouts like Jordan Weal and Colton Jobke play another year with the Blue and White. While I would like to see the duo fulfill their dreams of playing pro hockey, the selfish side of me secretly hopes there is a lockout so that they are forced to stay in Regina. I’m sorry, but having these two players on the roster instantly makes the Pats contenders, and I want a championship, God dammit.   

Once the NHL lockout becomes official, I will probably move on and find a new hockey league to criticize, but there will be a ten minute period there where I will be inconsolable.

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