With the deadline of September 15th inching closer every day things are getting more and more hostile in the hockey world. If people weren't upset at Gary Bettman enough already, he decided it would be a great idea to pour salt on the open wounds of hockey fans. Whether we like it or not a lockout is the main topic on everyone's mind. After the meetings on Thursday Bettman was asked "If he thought the league could survive another lockout?" and this was his response;
“We recovered last time because we have the world’s greatest fans." ~ Gary Bettman
Really Bettman, you think we're the greatest fans? How about you start treating us like the greatest fans instead of doormats! Instead of fighting till the bitter end with Donald Fehr maybe you could find some common ground and give the greatest fans what they want, hockey! At first sight his comment about the lockout may seem like a playful/nice compliment about the fans, but if you really look at what he's saying it's fairly easy to draw other conclusions.
"Maybe if the fans weren't so desperate for hockey, then I'd actually be worried"
Right now Bettman believes that the fans (the ones who help buy tickets and pay his salary) are mindless sheep, who will keep coming back to the slaughter house if it means we are provided with what we want. He's not worried about a lockout because he thinks the fans will be right back in the arena's the moment he "allows" there to be hockey. Sure maybe the die hard hockey fans will, but the majority of fans will be gone.
When billionaires and millionaires the only ones that lose are the fans, and it's true. We lose the ability to watch the game we love, to see our favourite players compete night in and night out and most importantly we will miss seeing a team fulfill a life-long dream. The 2004-2005 lockout was tough. I was just a mere child who didn't fully understand what the two sides were fighting over, I just wanted to watch hockey. Now that I'm older I understand that the two sides are fighting over money. They say "money is the root of all evil" and I'm really starting to understand what they mean. The owners and Between are really going to war against the players over money. It's not like someones human rights have been violated or a crime has been committed, the owners are trying to figure out another way to make more money.
Whether Bettman wants to admit it or not, the NHL didn't recover as well as he described above. It took a long time for people to come back to the game. Last season was a major positive for the league; they worked out a new deal with NBC and more fans tuned into games. The NHL started to gain momentum to bring the game we love to the next level. Now the league feels comfortable enough to call another lockout and ruin the momentum the NHL has been building. But has Between pushed the fans too far? Here's three reasons why fans wont be as quick to jump back on the NHL bandwagon.
- This will be the league third lockout in the last 17 years and second in less than a decade! People can only be let down by something they love so many times, eventually they'll move. Maybe the NHL needs to adopt a rule from baseball; three strikes and you're out.
- While Canadians are crazy about their hockey and wouldn't miss it for the world, the Americans don't feel the same. Hockey is probably around the fifth post popular sport in the states. They have the NFL, NBA, MLB and the NCAA, non of which have had as many lockout issues as hockey. The NBA and NFL both had a to make a new CBA like the NHL is doing now. But they sucked back their ego's and got a deal done, as a result they didn't lose many fans. If there is indeed a lockout Between will have his opened when he realized how many fans he's lost for good!
- Lastly Bettman and the owners have a complete lack of respect for the fans. For them it's all about how much money they can make. But when Between comes out and makes comments like the one above, it makes people upset. He's taking advantage of fans and pretty soon those fans are not going to waste money on tickets and jerseys if thats how they're treated/viewed.
To end I'll leave you with a tweet I sent out on Thursday;
If Between thinks us fans are the best, maybe he should give us what we want...... hockey
— Caitlin Campbell (@Hockeylife30) August 23, 2012