Tuesday, 4 December 2012

When is a hockey holiday not a hockey holiday?

Next week I should be going to see the New York Rangers four times. Three in the Big Apple and once in Ottawa.

I'd saved up for the trip. Gone without. Made sacrifices. All so I could enjoy a few games cheering on The Rangers.

I only had a small amount of holiday left, so I looked to see when I could use it to fit the most games in. A few weeks before Christmas was the answer. More expensive trip from the UK but worth it.

Then came the lockout. And there stopped hockey.

No NHL games have taken place yet this year. Star players have gradually joined the exodus to a range of European leagues. Stadiums sit empty. Fans sit watching re-runs of old games on cable. Stadium workers go without.

Having followed the saga from across The Pond on a host of websites I have concluded that unless you have a degree in economics and an unhealthy interest in sporting contracts, you may as well give up trying to work out who is in the wrong and who is in the right.

The owners seem to be the main villains, but could the players have done more? Probably not much, if the exhaustive amount of copy written on it is anything to go by.

Nevertheless, it is still a bit galling to fans that a dispute between billionaires and heavily rewarded sporting stars has resulted in this.

One thing is for certain though. The one group which has done nothing to deserve this is the fans.

Supporters make any sport what it is. Supporters buy TV subscriptions, pay for merchandise, snap up match tickets, generate the atmosphere. Without them hockey, or indeed any other sport, is nothing.

A few people might have done well to remember that these last few months.

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