Letter to Bettman

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My attempt to be serious

What the Puck?
Autumn McDowell

Sports Editor

Dear Gary,

I am writing you this letter with the hopes of making you realize the pain that you are causing hockey fans, and, in particular, fans of the National Hockey League.

Rather than make fun of you as I usually do, I am going to attempt to calmly and assertively make you realize what a colossal idiot you are, and if an insult slips in here or there, for that I am truly sorry.

When you announced that the NHL would go into a lockout back in 1994, after less than one year as the league’s commissioner, I should have known it was a sign of more bad things to come.

I do not think you realized what an impact you were making at the time, because over the next 18 years you did it again, twice. Does that seem a little bit ridiculous to you?

Every time you take away hockey, you are crushing dreams of fans everywhere. People live, eat, and breathe the NHL, but you don’t seem to care at all.      

By announcing yet another lockout, you took away the days when hockey fans could wake up, throw on their favourite team’s jersey, and wear it with pride all day because it was game day.

Fans no longer engage in healthy banter between colleagues about last night’s double header, a recent fight, an underdog victory, and that’s largely your fault.

If you think that the struggling hockey markets in the United States won’t take a hit from this lockout you are sadly mistaken. If teams like the Phoenix Coyotes are barely keeping their heads above water when they have hockey for fans to watch, how are they going to keep their already slim fan base alive if there is no hockey to speak of for an entire year?

You helped bring the NHL from 24 teams to 30, but I’m afraid that with you remaining at the controls, any progress you have made with expansion will be for nothing.

I would love to know what you truly feel you are accomplishing with another lockout. Does it make you feel good to take away not just the players’ jobs, but the jobs of other staff and media that work the games? Are you happy that while you are being greedy and squeezing every penny you can out of the players association to make yourself richer, people are struggling to get by because of a decision you made?

I realize that it is not solely up to you to make a decision. After enduring over 65 days without hockey I understand that both sides need to come together to make an agreement.

However, I don’t think that you are doing everything in your power to make that happen.

Your recent decision to postpone talks between the NHL and NHLPA is rather disturbing. How can anything get done if the two groups are not talking things out and trying to work out a deal in person?

I would hope that the NHL commissioner would be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until this issue got resolved and fans could be reunited with hockey once again, but I guess I was foolish to think that the NHL actually cared about the fans.

Sincerely,

Autumn McDowell

Photo courtesy sportsnet.ca

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