Feb. 16, 2005

Thaw the rinks

The NHL cancelled the 2004-2005 hockey season today, after locking out the players five months ago. It all came down to money... There may not be a 2005-2006 season according to some commentators. There's even talk that the league will bring in replacement players next year rather than compromise!

I sympathize with the players more than the league because the salaries rose to todays levels because the owners were willing to pay them. All other costs (tickets, TV rights, souvenirs) are set by supply and demand, why shouldn't salaries also be?

I think the tepid response of the American audience shows what the real result will be: attendance will never recover in some cities and a number of American teams aren't going to survive this dispute. The Canadian teams will all make it through because their audiences are devoted to the game. The League's victory, if there is one, will be Pyrrhic (they'll reduce costs but lose even more revenue).

Humbug... As a casual fan I rarely paid attention to regular season games, but I always tuned in for the playoffs. Thank goodness there are still eleven-year-olds out playing for my entertainment!


  1. Geez! That is a big deal in the hockey world!! I had not heard anything about this, but I know of several friend that will be deely dissapointed!!!

  2. *deeply dissapointed, that is.


  3. Agreed. There will be many Amercian teams that will probably disolve after all is said and done. America is just changing radically and I can't explain why, either. Sports in the USA just arn't what they used to be. There was a time there was just a love of the game. Now there seems to be no love at all.

  4. You could be right, but I seem to remember them saying the same thing about the baseball strike in the 1990s. Last I checked, baseball's doing just fine ... so fine that I didn't even go to any Cubs games the last two years I lived in Chicago, because tickets were too hard to get. I realize that's not even close to being the case in every city, but still. No teams went under, and for the most part attendence rebounded. Don't lose hope yet! : )

  5. Amanda: Many a slip twix cup and lip!
    Tina: I think that the North American professional sports have become so wealth and celebrity-based that it's hard for ordinary people to have much empathy. They're nothing more than "reality" shows now!
    l.a.h.: Montreal's Expos faded away and have just shuffled off to Washington. The baseball strike was a key factor in their decline. Hockey has the added vulnerability of having an already low profile in many American cities. Chicago is sports-mad, so although I agree that baseball generally recovered we'll have to wait and see how it plays out for hockey...

  6. Ah, the Expos relocating to Washington: It may be true that the strike had a hand in the decline of baseball in Montreal, but I'm guessing interest there was never terribly strong in the first place? Regardless, D.C. will welcome that team with open arms--baseball in D.C. has been discussed ever since I lived there (five years ago now), and probably before that, too. What better place for such an American game than in the nation's capital? : )