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Friday, 21 September 2012

5 Fan Bases Hurt by the Lockout


Other than players signing in Europe or with the KHL there is not much new in terms of hockey, so I've decided to replace the weekly " What You Need to Know" with an idea that was once again  suggested by Jordan. Today we'll be looking at some of the teams whose fans may dump their teams all together after this lockout.

Hockey is Canada's game and for many Canadians hockey is the only professional sport they watch. But in America the NHL isn't nearly as popular. The average American sports fan would rather watch a Monday night football game than a Saturday night hockey game, heck most would rather watch the NCAA than the NHL. Sad but true. This lockout or work stoppage couldn't be happening at a worse time for the league. The NHL was just starting to gain popularity in the US, the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup and Americans actually tuned in to watch games. Now the NHL is about jeopardize their new found popularity.

If the lockout is going to last look for many fans to turn away from the game and their teams. Some will turn to football or basketball and others will just stop wasting money on their teams. I heard something crazy on the radio last night: The price of a hockey ticket is now more expensive than a NFL ticket! That in itself is not right.

Here's 5 teams whose fan bases will take a major hit because of the lockout.

5. New York Rangers

Right after the Rangers go out and acquire Rick Nash and finally appear to have a team that can challenge for a Stanley Cup the NHL decides it is a good idea to delay the season. Not only is the actually team going to be effected by the lockout but the New York fans may be fast to move on. New York City is a fast paced city the people move around from place to place quickly. Rangers fans that live or are from New York will naturally move on to the next thing if there is no hockey. Plus in New York City there are no shortage of professional sports teams: Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Giants, Jets and the Nets are teams who play or represent New York. The Yankees are the most storied franchise in all of baseball, the Giants just won the SuperBowl and the Jets have added Tim Tebow. With all the excitement following other New York sports franchises the Rangers fan base will take a major hit. Even if Tebow is the backup quarterback he still draws more attention to the Jets than Rick Nash does to the Rangers.

4. Los Angeles Kings

Considering the weather in California, hockey probably isn't on the minds of most Californians. I know it's hard to think that the team that just won theStanley Cup could be in danger of losing fans. Sports fans have very short memories a whole season without hockey and the average American will probably forget who won the last Stanley Cup. Things for people in California to do are endless: They can hit up the beach, tour Hollywood, play golf etc. They can also cheer for one of the 13 other professional sports franchises that call L.A/California home, including the Lakers. For now the Kings have their crown but they may not have the fans. *This also goes for other California hockey teams like the Ducks and Sharks as well.*

3. New York Islanders

Has there been a professional sports team who has done less over the last seven years? The Islanders always seem to find themselves near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Even with John Tavares the Islanders can't seem to get a decent season going. The fans have to be getting fed up of being the laughingstock of the NHL. To boot the team will be up for relocation at the end of the year, thankfully they have an owners who is willing to back the team. But how much more disappointment can the fans take?

2. Columbus Blue Jackets

My heart breaks for the Blue Jackets and the lockout. They lost their franchise player in Rick Nash and got pretty much nothing in return. They were also scheduled to host the All-Star game. It seems nothing can go right for this desperate franchise right now who haven't made the playoffs since 2008. Like the Islanders the Blue Jackets are another team up for possible relocation. With the loss of Nash and the all-star game, what excitement or hope do the fans have left for their team?

1. Phoenix CoyotesPhoenix

While it appear Gary Bettman will fight to the death to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix a lockout wont help. The team filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and is currently owned by the NHL as they can't find anyone to bfan baseuy it and keep it in the desert. The team has been put through so much and already have a limited fan base. If the lockout lasts a full season expect that limited fan base to move on to other things. The Coyotes are also the favourite team for a relocation and whether Bettman likes it or not it will happen. Hockey in the desert is dead and the lockout will only help prove that point. Playing in an empty arena is no fun.

There you have it, 5 teams whose fan bases will take a major hit if the lockout does indeed last a full season. Hopefully Bettman and Fehr can wake up and realize how bad this lockout is for the teams, the fans and the game itself. If there is a full season lockout the NHL will be forever changed.

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