The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/11/13 at 07:25 PM ET
From an NHL team's fan's standpoint, yes, as many mixed feelings as I still have about the lockout and how its sequences of events progressed, I feel incredibly grateful about the fact that the Red Wings are getting "back to work" in terms of skating in front of paying fans at Joe Louis Arena shortly...
But as a hockey fan, and as someone who was ill for the past three months, I feel like someone who's "back" over halfway into a larger professional, minor pro and developmental hockey season that's almost two thirds over, taking place both all around the world and right here in Michigan, and I feel downright rotten about having missed so very, very much. In that sense, I agree with Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples, who's a little bit irked at the fact that so many people are suggesting that a game that never left is "back" simply becaues the NHL and NHLPA came to a collective bargaining agreement a little under a week ago:
[As Sunday] went on, and I followed the news and the tweets and the Facebook posts, I grew a little frustrated with the words I was reading. The frustration continues to grow each day.
Hockey is not back, everyone. Hockey never left.
As we have voiced all along, hockey never stops. The NHL closing its doors on us once again did not mean that your nearest rink closed its doors, as well. I was still at a rink almost every day, despite that rink not being Joe Louis Arena (with the obvious exceptions of the high school games and the Great Lakes Invitational). College and junior hockey was, and still is, alive and well. And nothing can compare to the enthusiasm displayed on the ice by young hockey players.
Heck, the World Juniors alone should have served as the perfect example that hockey lives on, no matter what.
The people in charge of our highest league of hockey have disappointed us. But the one thing we can’t let them take away is the spirit of our sport. The NHL is crucial to hockey’s growth, yes. And I am in no way saying we should turn our backs on the pros, either; I will be welcoming them back with open arms (well, actually with a tape recorder and a laptop, but we won’t get into details).
But I ask you to avoid the phrase “hockey is back” because hockey never left. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the people that loves hockey as much as I do. Make sure that the message you deliver to your friends and family is that you are happy that the NHL is back, but that the NHL can never take hockey away from you.
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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.