Anyone that knows me knows that I am a hockey fan. However, it was not always that way. At my old employer, back in 2005, I was at home and the on-duty district chief called me up to see if I wanted to get a little overtime. Figuring, what-the-hell, I can put up with anything for 2-3 hours, I agreed.
I had never seen a hockey game before, even on TV.
I was hooked. Here it was, fast paced, constantly moving, and you could knock the hell out of someone and it was legal.
A Carolina Hurricanes fan was born.
So anyway, I have heard a lot of stuff over time about how “hockey won’t survive in the south”. Hockey was a northern sport. I even had people bitching at me because the Hartford Whalers had moved to Raleigh to become the Hurricanes. Yeah, as if Peter Karmanos had consulted me on the matter.
And recently I have read things about how the southern and on-traditional location teams are a drain on the league, are bringing down the game of hockey, and all of that.
I never paid much attention to it, but now…
This year was the first year my wife and I purchased season tickets to anything. We WERE going to be going to the games of the 2012-2013 hockey season.
So how is that working out?
No doubt you’ve heard of the lockout. Without going into specifics, it seems that one group of people with a lot of money are fussing with other people with a lot of money about…money. Sure, there are some other things, but in the end, it is a matter of “show me then money”.
Not being an expert on hockey or the NHL, my opinion and observation probably doesn’t’ count for much. But I would be willing to venture there are a lot more like me out there, probably more than Donald Bettman, Donald Fehr, and the rest of the NHL and NHLPA realize.
This lockout is hurting the smaller teams. Sure, no matter what, after the lockout is over, fans of Toronto, Boston, and others will flock back. No need to tell me any different, that’s the way it is. Of course, there are those “no-traditional” markets, like Los Angeles (home of the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, and four other “non-traditional” markets who’s teams have brought home the Stanley Cup since 2000 (including the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006).
It’s hard to tell me that hockey won’t work in the south. Sure, Atlanta’s team bolted a while back, but I have been in PNC Arena in Raleigh and heard a roar on a level with the closest scoring rival game between UNC and NCSU whenever the ‘Canes score. And another southern team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, brought home the Stanley cup in 2004.
But anyway, it occurred to me that maybe this is what Bettman and some of the owners want- the demise of the smaller teams. I have even read some columnists that have written about (and supported) that concept. Sure, some of them need help or relocating. But Carolina ain’t one of them.
I just hate to see the damage being done to the sport in general as this asinine lock-out continues. There is no reason the games could not have been being played, CBA or none.
Something about “the show must go on”.