I was at a baseball game a few weeks ago with my husband, and we met up with two of our friends, BlondeBombKels and ItsThat1Guy (aka Alvin). Not only do we share the same baseball allegiances, we have the same hockey allegiance (my husband only by osmosis, since he wasn’t into hockey before he met me). My ticket rep with the Mets is also a Rangers fan. We talked about the season, and preseason, and I guess I was in denial with the fact that there was still a slight possibility of a lockout.
See, last year, Alvin got a bunch of us tickets for a Rangers/Devils preseason game at the Pebble. It was fun, it was raucous. We had a good time.
Alvin shook his head when we chatted about the preseason game, which the same crew was still interested in doing this year, and said, “It’s not looking good.” At first, I thought it was the possibility of us all getting together to see the game. Then I realized, he was referring to the lack of an agreement.
It then became a distinct possibility that in a year where I’m expecting my team to rebound from a great run yet disappointing end to last season that I might not see hockey for awhile. I mean, keep in mind that during the last time this shit happened, I had all but given up on hockey for good. Thank goodness, I suppose, for Mets late season collapses in September, when I needed an outlet besides a once a week fill for football.
So I was back, and I had a lot to look forward to as a Ranger fan. The emergence of Captain Callahan and King Henrik becoming one of the best goalies in hockey, let alone Ranger history. Looking forward to the passionate fan bases and going deep into the playoff season. I was right last year, that anything less than a visit to the Eastern Conference finals would be a failure, it was just too goddamn bad they lost to the Devils.
Barring all that, most Ranger fans were optimistic and eager to get their team returned to the ice.
What’s more though, outside of being a Ranger fan is that another large market team, the Los Angeles Kings, finally went all the way and won the Cup. This was a feat for themselves, their fans, and even the passionate hockey fans who followed certain players on the team. Yes, 2011-12 was a fun season for most fans. Even for Phoenix Coyotes fans, who saw their team actually go deep into the playoffs. Even for Devils fans, who may have seen a last hoo-rah for Fat Uncle Daddy Marty.
So I say to the NHLPA, the NHL, the owners, Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr, the hockey gods…while you’re nickel and diming each other (and hey, I’m a supporter of Unions, but these asses are just arguing about pennies while they’re letting diamonds go away in the form of fans), remember to take some perspective.
One year ago today, the hockey world was rocked with news of the Lokomotiv Yaraslavl plane crash that took the lives of the entire Kontinental Hockey League team. Scott Burnside writes on ESPN today: “Friday, Sept. 7, marks the first anniversary of the crash and marks an opportunity to reflect on the men whose collective impact on the hockey world cannot easily be summed up.”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a bunch of horses’ asses are arguing about MONEY.
I don’t know what the deal is with the KHL, if there were collective bargaining agreements or unions or ability to get paid the way they do in here where the NHL exists. What I do know is that several players, including a former 1994 Ranger Alexander Karpovtsev, died while traveling to play a game they loved.
A game I’m sure most players would have said back when they were kids, they love it so much they’d play for free.
But they’re not playing for free. They’re playing for real money, and real dollars, and owners and players and the league are arguing about who gets more.
It’s a shame really.
Like I said, I’m all for unions, I’m all for collective bargaining tools. I’m all for what makes workers’ unions strong and beneficial.
But being a fan of a sport that is about to embark on its third lockout in 18 years, the first one took half a season, the next one took out an entire season…what’s next? Take out TWO seasons?
I’m not saying I’m most fans. I remember when hockey came back after the last lockout, a few of my friends were pumped it was returning. By then, I had checked out. Some of it was devoting more time to my baseball fandom (even became a season ticket holder during that time). A lot of it had to do with my team at the time. I was not happy with the directions of the Rangers at the time, and thought devoting time and energy to having Glen Sather as the General Manager was nuts. But sticking with him turned out to be a good thing, I’m rooting for a hard working, blue collar type of playing team that makes Rangers fans proud.
The same blue collar types that made Unions strong.
But my question to everyone involved in…what the FUCK is taking so long?
My answer is to put things into perspective. Count your blessings that you live in a society that you can bargain for this and take your sweet damn time with it.
Then look at the past year, of losing fellow hockey players in a tragic crash, and saying, what the fuck are we arguing about now?
I’m not saying one side is more at fault that the others. But what are CBAs for anyway. TO COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN.
Get your shit together, both sides, and figure this out already.
Bargaining over lost dollars won’t matter when you alienate another generation of hockey fans once again.