Just remember the little guy

While the NHL and Player's Association quibble over a few million dollars, the fans are missing out

It’s 2012 and everyone from businesses to five year olds with piggy banks have had to scrimp and save for today’s economy.

But not in the NHL. Instead, the league and the NHL Player’s Association are squabbling over a few million dollars of a billion dollar empire in a way that has us commoners doing a double take.

The last I heard, the NHL had offered a 50-50 split. I’ve given up following it anymore, because I envision Gary Bettman and the NHLPA reps fighting over money like a child would fight over blocks at a day care. “Mine!” they cry.

With the average worth of each NHL team at about $240 million, I have little sympathy for either side wanting a bigger slice of the pie. You know who wants a bigger slice of the pie? Me.

I’m a Canucks fan, myself. Last year I finally got to see them play the Calgary Flames in February. .

The tickets came in just under $100 each and we sat so far away that I could barely make out the number on Alexandre Burrows’ jersey but we had an incredible time. When the game went to a shootout, I nearly screamed my lungs out. When Burrows scored I jumped up and down hugging my sister. I think my ears rang with the sound of “Burrrrrrr” for weeks.

This is what hockey is all about. I understand that it’s a business, but when you’re hurting the very people who hand over their hard earned dollars to allow you your extravagant lifestyle, is your bottom line really working?

How am I supposed to feel sympathy for someone like Shea Weber, who makes $14 million a season, or Zack Parise at $12 million…the list unfortunately goes on. I will never see that amount of money in my entire lifetime. But what I would like to see is the Stanley Cup awarded this year (preferably to the Canucks, keep your chuckles to yourself).

For me, the excitement of hockey doesn’t start until the New Year. Sure I’ll put hockey on in the background when the season starts, but I pay more attention once the games get closer to the playoffs. At that point the players are pushing harder and harder for those final spots. Every game counts and you can tell with every flick of the wrist and netted puck.

This strike is only furthering the divide between the league and its fans. By not holding a season at all, you’re losing money, but you’re also losing the respect of the people who just want to come out and see the top of professional hockey played.

When I attended my game in Calgary, I had a place to stay but we still went out for meals, enjoyed some brews at the game in true Canadian fashion, we went out and celebrated even though we lost in the second round of a shoot out. I spent money in that city: I would estimate about $300 after the ticket was purchased, and with the game ending in a double shootout, every single penny was worth it.

Is your 50-50 or 45-55 split in revenue as important as those extra patrons are to the millions of businesses that rely on an NHL season every year?

On Thursday, December 27, the Canucks are again playing the Flames at the Saddledome. I would very much like to be there. Make it happen, NHL and NHLPA, because the fans are getting tired of your shenanigans, and the loss of the 2004-05 season is still fresh in many of our minds.

Just remember who at the end of the day pays the bills around there. People like me, and my tiny $100 ticket purchase.

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