Above the Glass
by Samantha on 08/31/12 at 04:41 PM ET
Waiting for the NHL and NHLPA to get their act together on the CBA is a lot like watching water boil; the more you stare at it, the less progress seems to be made. Too bad there's not a Hockey Fan Association at the table. If we had anything to say about it, this would be long past over and done by now. Which got to me thinking, what if fans had a say in the CBA negotiations? If you could plead the fans' case for working it out, what would you tell them?
For my part, I think it would go something like this:
Dear NHL and NHLPA,
I'm sure you'd like to get on with the season the same as loyal, hockey related-revenue paying fans. That is why I'm writing to you today. I hope that you will consider what hockey means to us and why we hope you will work out your differences, post-haste.
Hockey is money. The league goes to work at the start of the season and fans go the ATM. It's money well spent and it's a win-win for fans, the league, and players. We buy everything from tickets, food and jerseys to hats, coffee cups and Center Ice packages; all to show our support and love of the game. All of which generate little things called hockey-related revenue and TV ratings. Lose even part of a season, and you lose not only our money, but our trust and confidence in your ability to run your business. Think about it this way: fans have many things we can do with our hard earned money in a down economy. We choose to spend it on hockey. My point here is simple: You start the hockey season on time, we start spending. I think you'll agree it's a no brainer.
Hockey is beauty. 'Tis true, non-hockey appreciators may argue that hockey is crude, rude, ugly, loud, and of course, smelly. But when played at its highest, purest and best level, hockey is a sport of uncommon grace and truly staggering beauty. I'm guessing right about now, the bargaining tables you are sitting at fall more into the "crude, rude, ugly, loud" bucket. The next time you want to rip off the head of the guy across from you, I urge you to take a moment and remember why you go to the rink. And that somewhere out there are fans whose reasons for doing so are the same: Because we love this game more than life. Because we believe it brings balance and harmony to the universe. Because hockey is honest and real and when played to its fullest potential, it makes us believe in our own potential for greatness. And finally, because it gives us something that can't be bargained, bought or paid for: hope. We must place our hope and faith in you that you will find a way to work it out. We only ask that you give us a reason to.
Hockey is life. Here in Portland, Oregon, Winterhawks fans believe in "hockey first, everything else second." Hockey isn't just a weekend hobby. It's not just something we do because there's nothing else happening around town. It's who we are, it's what we live for and it's why we do everything else in our lives. Like work, so as to earn the above mentioned hockey-related revenue. My point is this: I discovered hockey at a young age so it's hard to imagine a world without it. Unfortunately, in the 2004-2005 season we didn't have to imagine a world without hockey. We had to live it. There is nothing more tragic in life and a hockey season than getting to the end of it and wondering what might have been. That is what the 04/05 season was and will always be, one giant "what if?" And that was one too many. Nobody wants to imagine life without hockey and nobody wants to regret things that can't be undone. You still have time and opportunity to prevent another "what if" season. In short, you have the chance to be the hero who does the equivalent of scoring the game winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Take it.
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About Above the Glass
Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.
I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.
Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass