Apathy replacing anger for NHL fans
Posted November 29, 2012
Updated November 30, 2012
It is time to stop pointing fingers. It is time to put aside petty differences. It is time for the NHL to end the lockout.
We are past the point of which side is wrong, because both sides are mile past that line. This isn’t about placing blame anymore for the NHL and NHLPA. The newest concern for players and owners is how many people care if the game comes back?
There is no deal that can be done right now that will repair the damage that the two sides have inflicted on the game and to its fans. There is a growing amount of apathy that has set in with the fans of the game.
In a place like the Triangle, out of sight, out of mind is deadly to the Carolina Hurricanes organization. The concern should mount even more when the expectations of the college basketball team in the same arena are sky high. Season tickets for ACC basketball at the PNC Arena seem to be a safer entertainment bet, and fans don’t have to worry about the NCAA locking players out.
Leading into the lockout, I was asked on a daily basis when the NHL would drop the puck. Over the last two weeks, nary a question. Curiosity led me to ask the fans if they are still upset that there is no hockey or have they moved on?
The majority of the responses were that fans are upset with the NHL traveling down this path again, but they won’t turn their back on the game. That also doesn’t mean that they are willing to return if the league can fasten a season together this year.
These were a few of the comments sent to me via twitter:
”At this point basketball has my full attn. If hockey starts back this season probably won't watch unless Canes in playoffs.” -Jonathan
”Found other things to do and watch. Tell them to take their time” -Mike
”I'm upset. B/c I love the game& miss it & for the sake of arena workers, media, staff, etc, I'll watch when the puck drops.” -Emily
“Haven't given up, but the relationship is damaged. #NHL” -Carolyn
“Don't care anymore. Even if they come to an agreement we get some partial season and it gets old.” -Cody
“I'm over the #NHL for the season. They should just cancel the season. I can't get excited for it anymore this year.” -Kristy
“Will never give up on the sport or the Canes, just at the point of tell me (when) the idiots stop acting like children.” -Joe
This is not a full sample of every fan base of the league. Places like Toronto and Montreal will have the patrons flocking back the second there is a season. Hardcore fans always go back, no matter how awful the sport is run. This lockout isn’t concerned about those places losing season ticket holders or corporate money. The fact that is troublesome is that NHL management thinks that will happen everywhere.
To believe that places like Carolina, where there are not millions upon millions of sponsorship dollars and people to draw off of, will be better after a second missed season in eight years, is asinine. Failure to see teams like the Hurricanes will be hurt by another stoppage is mind-boggling and economically irresponsible. There is the old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Some Hurricanes fans are tired of the NHL's shame and are taking the lesson screamed by The Who – they won't get fooled again.
Mediators have been called in to settle this to no avail. Deputy commissioner Billy Daly said that the sides are still far apart, but with each passing day that is not the chasm that bothers me. The gap between the game and the fans that is growing wider, that is the cause of concern . The NHL should have learned, dealing with upset fans for a delayed start to the season is easier than winning back apathetic fans that have found better things to do with their time and money.