Friday, October 5, 2012

Will Fans Boycott the No Hockey League?

I received an email from the Toronto Maple Leafs telling me that the NHL has cancelled regular season games until October 24th, representing the first two weeks of the season. Ah shucks, what am I gonna do now? The answer: stop watching the NHL if and when the owners come to their senses. I was hoping to make the Winter Classic the centerpiece of my December sports road trip but with uncertainty like this, it is not worth booking the airline tickets, which I need to do quite soon, before prices rise even more. So I'm cancelling the 2012 Winter Trip entirely. The NFL season is tainted after the replacement referee debacle, the NHL is a joke, and although I enjoy the AHL, it isn't worth the 24-hour trip each way to see a few games in Providence and Hershey. Suddenly I have three free weeks and I'll be finding something more exotic to do here in Asia or maybe the South Pacific.

That is the short-term solution, but in the longer term, I don't think I will spend a dime on this league ever again. I have three NHL arenas to see as part of my Quest for 400 and I will visit those, but will be getting tickets from your friendly neighbourhood scalpers. I will avoid parking, concessions, and any other revenue stream that will see money go to the owners. Even the NHL's signature Game Center Live package will not be spared. Failure to do so will confirm that I am a stupid fan; the type that the NHL hopes will return without complaint when this fiasco finally comes to an end.

I wonder though about other fans. I think the league will return in a month or two, in time for the 24/7 series to be filmed and Winter Classic to be played. Will hockey fans again forgive a pointless work stoppage? I'm hoping that fans begin to realize that they are being played for saps by Bettman and his owners. Similar scenarios will continue to play out after every CBA expires. The NHL is being poorly run but those responsible have no reason to improve the business model, because fans keep spending their money without complaint. All I can do is be one of those fans that says "Enough!" and start spending my money elsewhere. So I am. I hope that at least one reader can do the same.

Next Up

After a sparkling three-day trip to Sri Lanka where I saw lots of Twenty20 cricket, I'm off to Japan this weekend. A friend was kind enough to offer me a sponsor's ticket to the Japanese Grand Prix, so I will be spending Sunday traveling from Tokyo to Mie to watch the race. Check back for recaps of both trips next week.




  1. Sean,

    Totally agree with you, the boycott is on. But you are correct, the vast majority will head back and support them, like mindless cattle. Reminds me of the 1994 baseball strike...I have been turned off of baseball ever since.

    Hopefully enough hockey fans will purposely spend their money elsewhere, such as on minor league hockey, or other sports.

    Sean S.

  2. The cancelling of the Winter Classic is a huge mistake in my mind. I still think the season will be played, but with 54 games or so. I wish fans would donate the money they would normally spend on hockey to charity or anything else, but sadly, they have been co-opted to believe that they are "NHL fans" when in reality they are just saps.