NHL owners “go to the box and feel shame”

This NHL thing is such a mess.

Only in Canada, would an impromptu breakdown in talks be breaking news on the national news network.

Remember the Chiefs from Slap Shot? They're behaving better than the owners.

Remember the Chiefs from Slap Shot? They’re behaving better than the owners.

The Fans should have a negotiator at the table. I’m not even a fan really – but I enjoy watching people enjoy hockey. And it’s a bummer for them.

Fans watch your games. Some fans can even buy tickets. Fans pay the parking. Fans support the local bars and restaurants nearby. Fans buy the jerseys. Fans buy the products that the advertisers and sponsors promote. In some cases, fans even build you arenas (which means taxpayers should probably have a say at the table too).

But most of all, hockey fans are hockey. They even make own their hockey players for heaven’s sake. And drive them to the rink and buy the equipment and coach them and cheer them on and volunteer for minor hockey and raise money and sell cookies and shovel sandbags and sell 50/50 tickets. And every now and then, one of those wonderfully hardworking players gets called up to the big league. It must take a village or two to get a kid in the NHL. It must.

Those are the people getting the “unacceptable” deal – and if there were no more NHL, there would still be hockey and there would still be good hockey. And generous sponsors, and happy advertisers and rinks full of fans to watch the games. And there’d still be a Stanley Cup too (doesn’t belong to the NHL) and fans could be happy again.

And then Bettman wouldn’t have a job, and neither would any of those owners. Then at least they’d understand how the fans must feel and have to find something else to do. But if they loved hockey, they’d make the deal and appreciate who really owns the game. Which is a huge difference from who makes the most money on it. In this case, it’s not the same thing. Not the same thing at all.

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