Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gary Bettman's Reign of Error

In 20-years as NHL commissioner, Bettman has presided over three labor stoppages including the canceled 2004-2005 season.  The NHL has lost over 2100 games due to labor stoppages during Bettman's tenure, more than all four major sports combined.  These stats come from a Washington Post article that I read weeks ago and can't seem to locate.  This season will probably be canceled, Bettman's second, in the next couple of weeks.  The league and Bettman are an embarrassment.

Everyone counters with he's presided over growth in the league to the tune of $3B+, but that also seems to the cause of the latest labor stoppage.  The billionaire owners and millionaire players are fighting over that money.  I know that's simplistic, but I'm not in the mood to analyze the details.  I'm just pissed.

Please do me one favor NHL and I'm sure every other fan will agree.  Don't insult your fans with a gratuitous "Thank you Fans" written on the ice if you ever play hockey again.  It's insulting because you don't give a  DAMN about the fans and I no longer give a DAMN about you.  I know hockey fans are passionate and the hard core ones tend to come back after being jerked around again.  It's like being in an abusive relationship because you have no choice.  I only hope that changes this time.

You also don't give a damn about the stadium workers and small business owners that make their livelihood on NHL games.  Shame on you.  And, when the fans abandon the game, it'll just hurt them more.  But, it's your fault not ours.

So, yes, I'll watch hockey if it ever comes back, but I won't spend the thousands of dollars annually that I used to on tickets, jerseys, t-shirts, caps, concessions and parking.  In 2010, I even started doing hockey themed vacations with a trip to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa to watch hockey and sight see.   I was intending to visit Vancouver in October to see hockey, but wisely changed course.  I'll never even bother planning an NHL themed trip again.

Major League Baseball starts in 106 days.  Go Washington Nationals!  That's where I'll be spending my money and my time on sports in 2013 and onward.  I never thought I could appreciate baseball like the game of hockey.  They're completely opposite games in so many ways, but last season taught me a lot about baseball and I enjoy it, just as much, although for different reasons.  I've been following the Nats since they got here, but last season was a joy.

Go to hell NHL.

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