The End of the Lockout

In John van der Woude
Jan 6th, 2013

This has been an unusual season so far, so I’m going to do something unusual myself: rant about hockey that has nothing to do with design.

After hearing the news this morning, I was elated but not surprised. I’ve been saying for weeks to anyone who will listen that both sides were probably waiting until the very last minute to get whatever they could get. If the other side collapsed first for some reason and gave in to all the demands, then great, they would sign the deal and get a longer season. But given the way the last negotiating sessions went, and with Don Fehr at the helm, I didn’t see either the league or the PA collapsing. At the same time, I was about 95% sure a season was going to happen this year. Both sides aren’t that stupid and the issues weren’t as big as they were in 2004/05.

Over the last few months, I’ve been pretty disparaging of the owners, more so than the players. Maybe the players had a better PR game going, but the owners seemed to be the obstinate, deal-or-no-deal hardliners while the players seemed to be reasonable, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter because they were obviously both involved in making the lockout last this long.

And here’s my rant begins. You can blame the owners, you can blame the players, you can call them all greedy, money-hungry and not listening to the fans, but at the end of the day, my guess is that if I were in their shoes, I’d be doing the exact same thing that they did. They make millions upon billions of dollars, but most of them, especially the players, have worked their asses off their entire lives for the privilege to play in the NHL and/or own an NHL team. I’m sure none of them wanted the lockout to last this long, but they’re going to look out for their own before they look out for the faceless people who cheer them on in the arenas or give them crap on Twitter.

The NHL is a business. There’s over $3 billion per year at stake. Of course the owners and players want as much as they can get because otherwise the other side is going to take more than they deserve. And for the players especially, their careers that they devoted almost every waking moment of their lives to are incredibly short and there’s only so many coaching/broadcasting jobs available when you retire at the old age of 34 after destroying your body for 15-20 years.

If that turns you off enough to stop watching the NHL, I totally understand where you’re coming from and hope the game can bring you back as a fan soon. Me, although I thought of boycotting at one point, will be watching opening day. Again, the NHL is a business and in any business, there’s going to be labour strife. And hockey is a sport, not an essential service, so they’ll take as long as they need to figure it out, despite what the millions of fans think and want. The teams and players definitely want your business and your support, but so does every single business out there and where you put your money determines how successful they are.

Did they lose a lot of money because of the lockout? Definitely. Will they lose fan support and thus cost themselves more money? Most likely. Will the owners make the money back? Absolutely, which is why they did it. The players definitely took a hit, but they also understand that their the employees, not the business owners, and IMO they mitigated their loses quite well.

If you think everybody involved is greedy, you’re right. But that’s because we’re all greedy do whatever we can to maintain our current lifestyle and provide for our family. They have a few zeros after their net incomes than we do, but the principle is the same. I don’t understand the life that the players and owners had to live to get where they are and be in the position that they’re in, so I’m just glad they figured out their bullshit and the NHL is back.

Game on!

Rant over. Back to design talk, I promise! There’s another Worst to First Jerseys happening soon and I hope to do a few more BTLNHL Vintage posts before the season’s through.


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