’04-’05 on the Stanley Cup Photo by Linda Hamilton
Something weird has been happening this summer. Excitement is rippling through the hockey fans I know, especially since the 2012-2013 schedule was announced. People are planning road trips and circling must see games on the calendar. I just don’t have it in me to celebrate, and regularly have to chime in with “if there IS a next season”. Apparently this makes me a Debbie Downer.
The problem I have with being painted that way is that there is a very real possibility that there won’t be an NHL season in the fall. It could be wiped out due to collective bargaining negotiations. Others have dissected the technical aspects of how the new CBA stuff could go down, but that’s not really the point. I’ve seen a lockout. I watched it take away my team’s legit chance at defending their Stanley Cup and I am still insanely bitter about it.
It’s happened before and it could happen again. I’m happy you’re happy about imagined hockey adventures you’ll be having, but be realistic about the situation our game is in. The landscape has changed a lot since 2004. The league has experienced a pretty huge amount of growth and profitability. They can’t exactly go into negotiations and cry foul about many issues that were on the table back then. The NHLPA is willing to play the season while negotiations go on, but it’s highly doubtful that ownership is going to be that willing to play ball… er, puck.
The last NHL Lockout lasted 310 days. From September 16th of 2004 until July 22nd of 2005 not a single game was played. It was the first time that the Stanley Cup was not awarded since the influenza epidemic of 1919 caused the cancellation of the Cup Finals. The last work stoppage is too fresh in my memory to believe that it won’t happen again this time. I’m not reminding others of this fact to dampen their spirits but rather to prepare them.
2004-05′s season that didn’t happen broke my heart. I just don’t want my fellow fans to feel that pain if history repeats itself.