While other National ***** League(s) continue to force feed their fan bases a load of garbage that “the integrity of their game is not being sacrificed”, NHL… I mean, Hockey fans are able to at least tune in to other on ice action around the world (although via the web, radio, or newspapers). There are only a few sports that have such a global audience and the capability to meet the demands of those audiences (capability = arenas/stadiums, teams, leagues, athletes, etc.) and among that shortlist are sports such as baseball, cricket, soccer, and you guessed it HOCKEY!
Just think about it for a minute… how many professional hockey leagues are there? I could try to count, but I definitely know there are more than four (football) to tune in to, which, by the way, is the same as the number of professional video gaming leagues! The fact of the matter is that hockey is a global sport with a global platform. I love football just as much as any other red-blooded American, but they don’t have the platform to offset the type of foolishness we are seeing now (foolishness = NHL CBA (dis)agreement).
The lockout we are dealing with in the NHL has shown me something interesting about my favorite sport… players will still play hockey, and they will still be paid to do so. Whether it’s with an AHL affiliate club, in any of Canada’s leagues, Europe, or Turkey the fact is players gonna play and not even Lord Stanley’s appeal can beat that of the almighty dollar/euro/ruble.
So, how do we, the hockey fans, respond to the current lockout? How is this year different than 2004? Well, for personal starters, I was in Iraq from 2004-05 so that’s different… I felt I had been given a “bye” on hockey that year. But, on a serious note, fans can still see their favorite players in the other leagues (and for some, these affiliate teams are better priced and closer to home), but they won’t be tuning in to the major networks for those games… better tune in via online radio. The seasons will be shorter, and the updates won’t be as amazing as seeing the games aired on the big networks live, but maybe… just maybe us fans, the owners, and the League will gain a new respect for hockey fans abroad and the sport as a whole.
With these things in mind, Bolts fans, might I recommend the Florida Everblades? You can find them ”just minutes from Naples and Ft. Myers off of I-75 at Exit 123 in the growing Southwest Florida community of Estero.” They’re no “cup contending” team, but when life gives you lemons… At least we don’t have to deal with the mockery those poor cheeseheads in Green Bay are putting up with =) couldn’t resist!
Kindest Vulcanized Rubber Regards,