A winter without ice; ice hockey that is

By Shane Evans
October 28, 2004

Some things just aren’t supposed to happen.

Rain forests shouldn’t be cut down, the air shouldn’t be polluted, nuclear bombs shouldn’t be dropped and professional sports should not be allowed to lock out, the NHL in particular.

It’s just not right.

So when it was announced, almost 40 days ago that the collective bargaining agreement could not be renewed for this year, a lock out was declared. For those of you who don’t know what a lock out is, what is comes down to that in plain English: No hockey. Sure there is minor league hockey, and foreign elite league hockey, but there is no NHL. There will be no blistering slap shots, no bone crunching hits and most certainly no Stanley Cup winning celebrations in June.

To a lot of people, this doesn’t really matter. Hockey isn’t, and never really was a mainstream sport in this country. It was still considered one of the ‘big four’ sports, that included professional baseball, football and basketball. But now, many believe that NASCAR is replacing it, and this was even before the lockout was declared.

Now that’s just the U.S. Canada is a whole different story. The country itself houses only six out of the 30 professional teams, yet hockey to Canada is not a sport, it’s a way of life. Without a hockey season, the huge majority of the 32 million people that live in Canada will likely go crazy…just like me.

Even though hockey will probably never be as popular to the United States as it is to Canada, there is still a huge fan base here in the states. Many younger men and women play hockey for fun, or are on their schools teams. It is no stretch to say that many of them are NHL fans, who this winter, have the option of watching NBA basketball, or nothing at all as far as sports are concerned.

Looks pretty grim for people like myself and others, like sophomore Clayton Cottman. He said, “It’s a shame that I cannot watch hockey during the winter because, quite frankly, that has been the only TV I have watched in the past. I would just like for the two sides to come to some sort of accord so the players can hit the ice.”

He isn’t alone in his thinking. Many people his age hold the same opinion, including yours truly. And unfortunately, many of those people who feel strongly about the sport and are big supporters, are being alienated and might never be the same type of fan when or if hockey comes back.

It is just a shame that two sides can’t agree on something completely monetary to ensure that a sport that is revered by so many people across the globe will be able to be played on schedule. It makes no sense at all. There is no positive in this situation. The owners might say they want a season this year, but they won’t on salaries for their players. On the flipside, the players say, “well we want to play and have a season,” yet they won’t agree to some sort of salary cap to ensure the future of the game.

It’s getting to the point now, where the livelihood of many hard working people are being put in jeopardy.

On the main page of ESPN.com’s NHL section, there was a story about Buffalo, and the Sabres franchise. The Sabres have never really been a team that had lots of money to spend; in fact, they have always been towards the bottom of the list on the “highest payroll” chart. Well it’s not just the team taking financial hits anymore…the city is too.

Buffalo is a smaller city, that really doesn’t have that much of an industrial base. Many of its people are involved in the hockey operations that the city gets so excited over. HSBC Arena is where the Sabres play, and it employs just over 600 workers, all of which who are without jobs right now. Not to mention the numerous bars and restaurants that are usually local hot spots before and after the games.

It is now not just a question of playing or not playing. It’s serious, especially for the small market teams like Buffalo.

A sport with such a great tradition like hockey deserves to be played on the bigger stages. Minor leagues and foreign play just doesn’t do it justice. The goal of the NHL ever since 1969 when the first expansion went through has always been to have hockey become an American pastime, just like the other 3 major sports. Things were definitely going in the right direction, but events like this, having no season, just send it in the other direction.

Life without hockey, NHL hockey, to me is something that just won’t be the same. The Flyers have always been my true love as far as Philly sports teams go, and having to endure my weeknights watching the 76ers and reruns of Seinfeld just isn’t going to cut it.

I need the excitement of a power play or the adrenaline rush I get from a Donald Brashear fight.

Many Philadelphians feel the same. The city itself just isn’t going to be the same without Flyers hockey, and until we get it back, there are going to be a lot of unhappy faces walking the streets.

Posted to the Web by Lori Iannella

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shane Evans

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap