And so it begins. At 11:59 PM last night, the latest NHL lockout began. It’s pretty unbelievable that we have to go through this just 8 years after an entire season was lost due to labor dispute. This is the third time in 18 years that the owners have locked out their players due to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
The possible business impact of another lost season has been discussed at greater length by people with more insight than I have. It’s been discussed more eloquently as well. At the end of the day, I’m just a hockey fan. In spite of the PR spin from both the NHL and NHLPA, we’re the ones being forgotten in all of this. If the two sides cared about their “great fans” as much as they claim, we would be getting ready for training camp right now. They would be working towards an agreement instead of sending out letters like this.
I think I speak for all hockey fans when I say: What the hell??
All teams stand to lose a lot if the lockout extends into 2013, but it’s hard not to be bitter when it comes to the Lightning. Travel back 8 years and the Bolts were on top of the world. They had just won the first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history and were poised to defend their title the next season.
Nearly the entire Cup winning team was still under contract so that squad would have been largely intact.We know that that never happened. The season was lost and Bolts fans saw their team disassembled in free agency the following summer. It’s taken several years and several seasons of bottom dwelling for the Bolts to rebuild, but the bitterness of that lost season still remains.
Here in 2012, the Lightning have started making plans to celebrate their 20th anniversary season. Another milestone in franchise history in jeopardy of being wiped out. Sure, the anniversary will still take place but it’s not right that it will be done with a locked building and no players on the ice. The bitterness rises once again.
A lot of fans have talked about walking away from the NHL entirely in the event of a lengthy lockout. Maybe I’m so angry because I know I won’t be one of them. I’ll be back in my seat when the games resume. They’re doing this to me again and I’ll just have to take it because I’m hopelessly addicted.
In the meantime, Sons of Andreychuk will go on. We’ll cover the Syracuse Crunch and the Florida Everblades. I’ll even head up to Orlando to take in some Solar Bears games. There’s life and hockey outside of the NHL. That’s what we’ll support until our boys get back on the ice.