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Friday, 12 October 2012

NHL Opening Night That Wasn't

I'm sure you've by now you've figured out that Thursday October 11th was supposed to be opening night in the NHL, sadly October 11 has come and gone without any NHL hockey. By now we all now the reasoning behind missing opening night so I'm not going to elaborate on it; simple as millionaires vs. billionaires.

What was supposed to be a magical night for hockey fans, turned into any other ordinary Thursday evening. There were no sweaters donned, no huddles around the TV, no pre-game rituals for fans or players, no line ups at the arena, no fans in the stands and most importantly no players taking to the ice. On the sports networks one could find playoff baseball and Thursday night football, not a single mention of the NHL. CTV has even come out with Big Bang Marathon to help fill the "hockey void." (yes those are their exact marketing words)

It's a sad time. On the day the puck was supposed to drop on the 2012-2013 NHL season the arenas sat dark and empty. For Canadians there was no Don Cherry or double header on CBC. One thing a lot of people forget is the fact the NHL players actually agreed to and wanted to play through the CBA negotiations. The lockout came directly from the league itself, the players were willing to play and negotiate so us the fans could have hockey. But instead NHL commissioner Gary Bettman decided that playing hockey and negotiating a new CBA couldn't happen. Instead the two sides should meet a few times a month to discuss "non-important" economical things.

I must admit there's a weird feeling here in Canada. While fans are upset few are expressing their feelings. My school which is filled with hockey fans and players aren't talking about hockey. Even when walking around at coffee shops and grocery stores there is little to no hockey talk. Even though there is still junior hockey and the AHL season is about to kickoff tonight, there is almost no talk about hockey between people. It's almost as if the game we love has become an after thought. Canadians have realized they can survive without the NHL. 

Unlike 2004-2005 fans seem to have realized that despite their not being any NHL hockey life will still go on, a noble discovery. For example, tonight the Buffalo Sabres are unveiling their historic "French Connection" statue to commemorate the franchise most history line. There's not a lot of excitement on twitter between Sabres fans right now, heck I even forgot it was happening until I received an email about it Monday.

Please Bettman, reinstate the NHL and give Canadians a piece of their culture back. I miss talking and debating hockey with people at Tim Hortons!

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