Fans are the losers

NHL players and owners make it clear that money is far more important than love of the game

The hockey lockout is a déjà vu happening. It’s here once again. Who are the losers here, one might ask? Is it the players or the owners? Not really, it’s you and me, the stupidly blind and hockey-thirsted individuals that continue to patronize the game where greedy owners and player prima donnas want more and more and exhibit the feeling of “It’s all about me!”

Hockey is a business and should, therefore, provide some profit for the owners and some for the players as well. Making a profit is what business in the free enterprise system is all about

For the purposes of clarification, I am a loyal hockey fan with no axe to grind. I am appalled at both owners and players alike for being so self-indulgent that the game of hockey has gone past the point of being the proud sport of Canadians and Canada. Hockey has been made a mockery that we, the paying customers, feed through dedication or stupidity. I’m not sure as to where to draw that line. The players demand more money and the owners offer huge sums to attract players to their teams. It’s a vicious circle with the paying customer being the victim of the egos of both players and owners. We don’t have to patronize the games, yet we still seem to, with little or no complaint when the game circumstances go sideways, as they have now. We have not learned much from the last lockout it seems. We are still ready to go to the games, for the most part, tomorrow, if the issues were resolved and the schedule solidified.

We have to ask ourselves the question: How much is a hockey player really worth? These players seem to think that money grows on trees and they are special, making some serious demands that owners cave into. There are those players that have multi-year contracts for several million dollars. For the most part, they play about 80 games per year providing they don’t get injured or face some long-term suspension. Each game is 60 minutes or so of actual playing time. Let’s assume that a player has negotiated a contract for five years at $7.5 million. A total of about 400 regular games would be played. Do the math. It means that the player is making $18,750 per game. It equates to $312.50/minute. No too shabby for showing up to play for about 20 minutes of that hour, is it? However, I digress. That’s not what we think about through this interruption is it?

Those of us who are dedicated hockey fans don’t even think of how much these players make per game. We just want to see hockey played and our favourite team do well.

In order for the owners to recoup their fantastic salary offers, they have to have crowds to fill the arenas. That’s where we come in. They rely on us to pay their bills and still make a profit.

I guess what it boils down to from the perspective of both owners and players is: How much money is enough. Apparently love or interest of the game itself would appear to be secondary or of lesser consequence. Hrrrumph! Canada’s game, be damned. Go get ’em Vees!

Ron Barillaro

 

Penticton