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The Malik Report

Boycott the Winter Classic on principle? Are you kidding me?

When someone starts their Sunday column by launching into a multi-paragraph rant stating that they could give a rat’s ass about the tedious, draining and depressing but incredibly important constraints upon which the NHL’s teams and players will be governed (and, to some extent, their fans, given that their favorite players may or may not be more likely to continue playing for their favorite teams under different rules of business engagement), and offers a “wake me when it’s over” remark, it strikes me that offering such a, “Hey, but you could boycott the marquee event, fans!” suggestion is somewhere between cynical and hypocritical coming from someone who doesn’t pay to attend NHL games.

The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons does both this evening, suggesting that the CBA is “nonsense,” that players who aren’t stars are “replaceable” and interchangeable and that none of the dramatics likely to take place over the next however long it takes for the NHL and NHLPA to agree upon a new CBA just don’t matter, and yet…He expects Red Wings and Maple Leafs fans to magically suck up the $35+ dollars in service fees they were forced to swallow for the privilege of attending the Winter Classic (if they bought tickets on the primary market; if they do so on the secondary market, we’re talking about investments of $500-$1,000 or more) to ensure that Michigan Stadium’s once in a lifetime event has no butt in seats:

It isn’t often a hockey fan has power of any kind, but the season-ticket holders in Detroit and Toronto do have some power for a change. They can say no to tickets for the Winter Classic. They can protest the upcoming lockout legitimately by just saying no to buying the seats being offered their way. And the public can get involved also, those who apply by lottery for tickets at the University of Michigan. This is a rare opportunity for fans to lash back at mistreatment by the NHL. It won’t happen, of course. But wouldn’t it be nice if it did? The NHL season is all but certain to not start on time, but will magically find a way to be in play in time for its big show on Jan. 1. Why not send a message and make The Big House the big empty house on New Year’s Day? Why not take a stand?

Yeah, fans, you don’t give a shit about your team and its interchangeable parts, so screw ‘em! Don’t attend something so many of you are willing to pay a grand or more to attend (because, of course, eBay, Stubhub and other secondary market resellers will totally refund significant chunks of your discretionary income and take the loss on principle!)! You’re better than that! Stop caring about your players and teams, and stand up against a dispute when the honest truth is that you root for both your favorite players and your favorite teams, just because it would “send a message!”

What the *#$%@&? Uh, no. That would be great and all if the fans had paid the price of a premium game ticket at Joe Louis Arena to attend this game, but when we’re talking about hundreds or thousands of dollars and multiple events required in the offing, the majority of fans can’t afford to stage this kind of protest. This suggestion is completely unrealistic for the season ticket-holders who can afford to make that kind of big-money protest, and it’s utterly ridiculous for those who can’t afford to attend the game to begin with but have found a way to make it happen.

I understand what Simmons is trying to suggest, and yes, it would send a stunning message, but it’s misguided as misguided as a suggestion can be, and when it’s preceded by a, “I don’t give a flying *#$%@& about the lockout” diatribe…Why ask fans to make that kind of sacrifice to begin with?

Being a hockey fan is not equivalent to being Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and the vast majority of us don’t have the kind of financial wherewithal to accidentally on purpose kick our parents’ Ferrari into a ravine. We don’t have those parents to begin with, nor the Ferrari.

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If any of those fans that aren’t going to go on principle change their mind too late and want to sell their tickets for under market value (or even give it away for free), I’m certainly willing to help out,.... Even if I agreed with Mr. Simmons on the principle, I’d think a regular season non-special game would be more appropriate. There’s no way the fans are going to boycott this game in any significant number, I would think.

Posted by Bugsy on 08/19/12 at 06:31 PM ET


If we boycott the winter classic it means we might lose Hbos 24/7 and I just couldn’t live with out that

Posted by Tony from Boston on 08/19/12 at 10:28 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.