I am a fan of the National Hockey League. (NHL) When I heard about the NHL strike, especially after experiencing the National Football League replacement referee debacle, I was crushed.
My son and my husband have always been avid hockey fans, and I have come to love the sport because of them. I look forward to the season, the beauty of the game, the great personalities, and the good-natured ribbing, as my family members are fans of opposite teams.
As a family, we were immensely upset by the decision of the NHL owners and the players to begin canceling games.
Initially, I didn’t care about the Why of the strike- I just wanted hockey. But as it has dragged on, I decided to look into the reasons behind it, hoping to understand, and be sympathetic. After all, I am a fan. I care about these people, and about hockey.
What I found out, however, makes me wonder why I care at all. It seems as if the owners and the players care more about money than they do about me, and my family, and what we like and want.
According to the Huffington Post, the main issue is how to split $ 3.3 billion dollars among the thirty team owners and the players. It is not that they do not have the $3.3 billion dollars, it is that the owners want to keep more, and the players want to get more.
$ 3.3 BILLION dollars. It seems as if it would be more than enough money to support 30 teams owners, and the 23 players on each team, no matter how it is split.
Let’s look at this. There are 30 teams, with each team having 23 players. Add in 30 owners, and that comes to $4,583,333.00 per person. Even if half goes to operating expenses, they can’t each get by on over 4.5 MILLION dollars a year? I could.
According to a 2011 article in Forbes, 33% of the owners are already billionaires. But these smart, rich guys can’t figure out how to split the money, so they take away the game I love.
Mike Ozanian, an economic analyst for Forbes, said, in an article published in Forbes, “During the 2010-11 season, the typical NHL team relied on gate receipts for half of their revenue.” Ozanian says that percentage is much higher than any other pro sport. So, in hockey, it appears, the fans do matter.
Without me, my son, and my husband, (who is a former semi-pro hockey player, so this is particularly hard for him) there would be no National Hockey League. The hockey rinks would be empty. Thousands of people would lose their jobs, from the secretary who answers the phones at the offices of the team owner, to the person who serves drinks at the ice rink.
The strike also affects local economies that are just beginning to recover from the recession. According to the Durango Herald, “Each canceled game at the (Pitttsburgh) Consol Energy Center is estimated to cost the city $2.2 million, says Craig Davis, president of VisitPittsburgh, the city’s tourism office. That amount includes tickets and food sales at the arena, spending at restaurants and bars, hotel rooms and parking.” $2.2 million dollars. And that is just one city. This affects real people.
Owners and players: Get over yourselves, and give us hockey. We deserve to see the game we love. We will support you to the ends of the earth, but we are tired of being dismissed. We are 50% of that 3.3 billion that you are fighting over. We are the people who depend on the games for more than just entertainment. We are the people who will decide whether your team will get our tax money next time you want to build a new arena, or parking lot, or practice facility.
With out us, the lowly fans, there is no NHL. We came back after the last lockout. We were loyal.
It is time for the NHL to show us, the fans, that loyalty still counts. Give us our hockey. We are the fans.