Same shtick, different ice: NHL lockout aggravates all

The subtle “chik, chik” of skates on ice, the clashing of sticks, the thud of the puck against the goalie, the clang of a shot bouncing off the goal — these are the sounds hockey fans love.

However, the most recent lockout initiated by the National Hockey League puts the upcoming season, and these beloved sounds, at risk.

“As a fan of hockey I’m pretty pissed,” said senior and Carolina Hurricanes fan Brendan Wynands. “Instead of capitalizing on the goodwill created with the fans since the end of the last lockout or continuing to make adjustments to increase the profit of the small market teams, the owners have decided to make the players the culprits.”

Owners are sticking with proposals that lower the salaries of players and increase the length of time that draftees must play as restricted agents.

This lockout marks the fourth NHL lockout since the ‘92–’93 season and is the third lockout under Gary Bettman’s tenure as league commissioner.

“Bettman gets booed at every NHL event for good reason,” said senior and New York Rangers fan Tali Raphael. “He has cost the fans a lot of games.

“Essentially the NHL is in a position where the teams, since the detrimental lockout of 2005, have been giving star players long and rich contracts,” said Raphael. “This lockout is about revenue distribution … and about what to do with the league’s salary cap.”

Negotiations are still underway with all pre-season games through Sept. 30 already cancelled. With the season slated to start on Oct. 10, fans are understandably worried.

“I’m a sports fan and am frustrated when the games can’t be played for compensation-related reasons,” said Sports Information Director and Assistant Director of Athletics Dave Walters in an email interview.

“While I recognize the business aspects of professional sports, I don’t watch the games and follow the players because of how much they get paid, nor do I watch because of how much money the owners make,” he added. “I watch the games because I enjoy the competition and the opportunity to root for my favorite teams and players.”

A number of NHL teams and players are resorting to more drastic measures in response to the lockout.

“Lawyers for the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames players are trying to have the NHL lockout declared illegal under Alberta law,” Sports Illustrated reports. “Some players are already signing with European teams for the season.”

Wynands directs his displeasure at the league in general.

“In short, I blame the NHL and the owners entirely for taking away the greatest game on earth through their own selfishness and greed,” said Wynands.