Hitchcock..."I Hate It"
One thing I’ve learned in regard to the NHL being locked out is once you leave you can be forgotten very quickly. Taking your fans for granted is a risky proposition and the league and it’s owners and players will soon realize if they haven’t already.
Hosting a daily sports show in a hockey market has allowed me to realize this even more.
All the goodwill and the new fans the Olympics and winter classics created have basically dissolved. Welcome back to 2004 where the NHL and its players will now be forced to once again rebuild their fanbase. Only this time it’s way more personal than it was in 2004.
There are plenty of fans who still like hockey but many have zero interest in spending a dime on the NHL. The NHL might want to change a rule where every team qualifies for the playoffs this season just to give fans a reason to care. We’re likely looking at a 48 game schedule, which isn’t a real season, so let’s throw out the real rules for one year. Yes I joke when writing this but isn’t that what the lockout has become?
I spend several days a week at local rinks coaching youth hockey so I already get my hockey fix. Would I like to watch the NHL? Sure, but it won't ruin my life if the two sides can’t agree on the length of freaking contracts. Like a lot of people I’ve been affected financially and with Christmas around the corner the lockout becomes personal for some people.
Where did this sense of entitlement come from that both sides have put on full display? St. Louis Blues head Coach Ken Hitchcock expressed his anger on my radio show Wednesday.
“I’m really grateful for what I’ve got in this game. This game has given me a heck of a life and I worked for a living long before I coached for a living and I don’t like any part of the feeling of entitlement, I hate it!"
"We’re not entitled to anything. The game of hockey has given all of us, players, coaches, managers, it’s given us a heck of an opportunity to earn a great living and we should be respectful of that every day. I don’t like it when entitlement becomes part of the conversation because we’re not entitled to anything. We have to earn it and that’s got to be our attitude when we come back. We’re going to have to make sure we have time for everybody, every autograph, every fan and earn this thing all the way back.”
These are genuine comments from a man who has given his entire life to the game. He sees it for what it is and that’s what makes this even more difficult to comprehend.
I don’t understand why length of contracts with a variance is so critical to the owners when they’re already getting a 50/50 split. It really doesn’t make sense to me. Is it enough to kill the sport? I’ll let you be the judge.
It’s no shock to hear a deadline is looming as source tell me it’s somewhere in the January 10-15 range. No one should be surprised to see this thing go the distance.
Sources say Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs has indicated to those around him that he’s done negotiating. The players also indicate that they aren’t about to budge so it will be interesting to see who blinks first.
For the record the St. Louis Blues used 33 players and three goalies in the 1994-1995 48 game season. Brett Hull and Adam Creighton were the only players to play the entire season.
The NHL might want to re-think how they go about marketing the sport. The same can be said for each individual team. Whatever the plans were heading into the season should be scratched and tossed away.
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