So as most of you all know we are in a state of crisis when it comes to the NHL and the NHLPA. These two sides can’t seem to agree and of course we the fans of hockey are not getting to see our favorite teams and players play the game we all love so dearly. Now normally I have dedicated this blog to stories of being a parent and my experiences in life, so to write something about the NHL Lock Out is not something most people would expect to see but they actually are related and I will get to that now.
Sometimes when couples go through a divorce or separation things will turn quite nasty, especially when lawyers, mediators, and other people get involved. Throughout this process pride, stubbornness, and sometimes anger end up leading the way and certain things are forgotten. When divorce happens there are so many emotions that can get in the way of progress that some of the most important people involved get forgotten in the shuffle. Of course I am referring to the children, most of the time in negotiations they can be used as pawns, they can be completely forgotten, or they can simply be treated as assets. Is this right? Is it fair? Both answers are a very big NO, but for some reason it happens.
So today as I followed the ups and downs of the NHL and NHLPA negotiations and went from an excited “This could be it!! Hockey could be coming back!!” to a completely devastated “Nope, no progress!! The season is probably lost!!” a thought came to me. We the fans of the NHL are the children and the NHL and the NHLPA are the fighting parents!!
Think about it, both parties are guilty of using us as pawns by playing the PR game. They leak information to get us excited and want to take their side. They use social media and tell us how they care about us and how they want to get a deal done only to go into a negotiating session and come out with no progress. Sounds like one parent trying to sway a child to want to side with them over the other parent doesn’t it!!
They treat us like an asset, they assume that the 3.3 Billion Dollars of Hockey Related Revenue is going to stay at the number and only grow. It seems like they expect us to simply come back and sellout arenas, they can continue to take our money and we are just going to automatically come back like nothing happened. They claim to care about us but in reality we are simply the revenue that they are so desperately fighting for. Again, two parents fighting over money and assets that simply think that all this battling will have no impact on their kids at all.
Many of us will agree to this point, both parties are guilty of completely forgetting about who got them to where they are right now. Who’s income has help build this league and game into the great sport that it is now. They have left us the fans out of the picture completely, they don’t want to hear what we have to say, and even if they did listen to us they wouldn’t take what we have to say into account in their negotiations. Again the forgotten children of divorce have to simply wait and see what happens and have absolutely nothing to say about the matter they just have to accept the results.
There is one sport that I have noticed over the years that actually listens to the fans. The UFC president Dana White does a fantastic job of listening and responding to the fans. If there is a bad event and the fans complain about it via social media he is right there with them listening to them and apologizing for it. If the fans want to see a fight happen between two elite fighters and voice their desire to see this fight Dana White will listen and do whatever he can to make that fight happen. If only Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr would be so gracious to listen to their fans they would know that we want them to lock themselves in a room and not come out until a deal is done. We don’t want grandstanding and PR, we want our game back, so why not take a tip from the UFC and listen to your fans for once and get a deal done.
Stop being the neglectful and angry parents that are so obsessed with getting their way that they are willing to put their own children at risk. As many children that have gone through similar experiences with their parents and have grown up will tell you that we won’t forget this. We are more than pawns and assets, and without us you will have nothing in the long run!!
Part of me would really like to see someone start a campaign to market to season ticket holders for every single team in the league. Convince them to sign a petition stating that we want the season to start by this date or we will not renew our season tickets for one year. If you could get 60% of the ticket holders to do that and then send the petition to both the League and the Players Association do you think they would listen to the forgotten children then??
All the best!