LOCKOUT: LIFE GOES ON

Robin Brownlee
September 15 2012 06:29PM

Roy MacGregor is a terrific writer and his column in the Globe and Mail today about the NHL lockout and the possibilities that come along with it rang truer than true with me.

Rather than look at yet another work stoppage on the watch of Gary Bettman as some sort of national tragedy -- it will be seen as that by many across the country -- because NHL teams won't be able to take our dollars for tickets, beer, hotdogs and TV packages and players won't collect their vast salaries, why not embrace the event? A couple paragraphs in his piece really hit home:

"There is something seriously afflicted in a nation when it can be argued, with some pitiful justification, that the average parent would choose having a child play a single game in the NHL than become a neurosurgeon for life."

"In a country where grown men have been known to weep while watching a Tim Hortons coffee commercial, it’s pretty obvious that we have come to let a child’s game dominate to a point where it is unhealthy, if not downright sick."

Ring a bell?

WHAT'S THE MESSAGE?

I get the sentiment behind a piece like the item Jonathan Willis wrote today, I really do, but it strikes me as remarkably naïve if anybody thinks cutting back on their consumption of beer and nachos at a hockey game or refusing to buy that Taylor Hall jersey they've been eye-balling represents a meaningful way of sending a message to Bettman or Donald Fehr.

If you're still buying walk-up tickets or season tickets or still purchasing that cable TV package, providing owners with their biggest revenue streams and the ability to keep over-paying players – or you will whenever the owners and the NHLPA decide to again grace us with hockey – then NHL fans truly are, as Bettman intimated not long ago, the best fans in the world.

If you're not willing to walk away from the NHL and stay away long enough for the waiting lists for season tickets to dry up, for owners to see sections of empty seats in their buildings and for TV ratings to fall off the map, the only message you're sending is Bettman was right about you.

"I'll keep buying tickets and keep watching on TV, but I'm going to eat a ham sandwich at home instead of buying concession food and . . ." Please. If just 10 per cent of the people who swear they're done with the NHL would actually keep that promise when the puck drops again, you'd be on to something and have at least a reasonable chance of sending owners and players a message.

DO SOMETHING ELSE

I hope the owners and the players take in the wallet over this latest bit of greed and stupidity. With all the big dollars both sides are willing to piss away in the name of holding their ground, or whatever is motivating this latest round of asinine posturing, I feel bad for the wage earners this will impact.

A lot of people who won't earn in one year what Hall or Jordan Eberle make in one week – ticket takers, ushers, people in support services and who earn a living in other spin-off businesses – are the ones who pay the price. Staff cuts with NHL teams are coming or already have come. Lay-offs and salary roll backs. Those are the people who take it in the ear during a work stoppage.

Sooner or later, of course, the puck will drop again and fans, those faced with filling untold hours with family time that doesn't include sitting like lumps in front of the television or trudging to Rexall Place, will flock back with ticket dollars in hand when the lockout ends. They always do.

That message has already been sent, and received, loud and clear.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Dear God, It's me Margaret
September 16 2012, 11:43AM
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Dear God, It's me Margaret,

My parents are fighting again. This time dad(NHLPA) was locked out. Can you believe it? Mom(NHL) changed the locks! I don't understand. They keep saying it's not just about money, but during their last fight, thats all they talked about. Mom started yelling "you're spending 57% of our income on toys and cars and tv's; that's only leaving me 43% to run the house." All dad said was "I like it this way. What's your problem? Are we not making more money than before." If not to complicate things more, she brings up my grandparents, "you know that my mom and dad are not doing well down in Phoenix. I want to send down some money, but we just can't afford to." Mom isn't happy. Dad's like "why do we always need to help. You and brother wanted them there. It would make more sense to move them back up here, a place were they can maybe make some money. They're still young and this way they won't need Work Visas." Either way, all I know is that I'm sitting here, at home, thinking, "Won't it be nice if we could just all go skating today." But mom has the door locked, and dad's left moving between all of his brothers(KHL, SEL, AHL). All I know is that they're both a bunch of asses. I'm the one left out here. Now what am I suppose to do? I feel more screwed over than ever before.

Margaret

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#2 Archaeologuy
September 15 2012, 06:41PM
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My Will Power is nowhere near where it has to be to actually boycott something. My ever growing waistline is enough proof of that

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#3 Helmethead
September 15 2012, 10:57PM
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My g/f is a full time professional and works at Northlands p/t. It's not a job to supplement income but a job that gives her a nice change of pace while engaging Northlands customers and Oiler fans.

She loves seeing the faces of long time fans who attend their first Oiler games. With tickets still in hand they glance around looking for their seats. She can point them out in a second because they have THAT look in their eyes. The excitement. The thrill of being in an arena where, as my girlfriend calls it, "The Magic Happened". These fans and followers sometimes drive through the night just to attend their first and ONLY Oiler game they will ever see. This NHL hockey club is more than an NHL team but it's deeply in bedded into the fabric and culture of the city of Edmonton. My girlfriend, who is originally from Toronto, can see first hand how this team and the NHL game is deeply rooted in this community. She says Oiler fans are different because of the passion demonstrated by generations who pay for their seats.

Grandfathers with sons and their sons walking proudly to their seats awaiting puck drop. Edmonton isn't Toronto. The seats are paid for by those generational fans.The attendance numbers aren`t inflated by corporate ticket purchases that never get filled. Every seat is paid for AND used by an Oiler fan, one way or another. We`re fans because of past success. We`re fans because the promise of future success. We`re fans because we love this team and they represent the character and heart of Edmonton and Edmontonians. My girlfriend sees that in we, The Edmonton Oiler Fans. She sees it on Oiler game day.

My point is this; while Brownlee pointed out there will be fans who will give up on the league and the professional game due to this lockout, the Oilers have many faithful followers. If and when the league starts again, the damage won't be as drastic because after all, we are Oiler fans, lovers of hockey and passionate about our community.

And sorry Brownlee, to say you would write about something other than hockey and the Oilers is about a daft comment one can make coming from someone who made a living working `The Beat` as an Oiler reporter/writer for as long as you have. Nice Try....

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#4 Spydyr
September 16 2012, 11:40AM
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As a young boy hockey was my world.As I grew older it slowly became less and less so.The day 99 got traded something died a little inside me.Since that day that love for hockey has slowly dwindled away.Through every lockout.Every star leaving for more money.Every entitled player.Every greedy owner asking for more money from the Government.Our money.

The business side of the game has ruined that little boys love for hockey.

Still catch most games on the tube .Go to a few each year.Just don't care as much as I once did.The older one gets the more they realize what really is important and life.Heath, family, friends.

The love for the game is still there and always will be.It is in my blood and the blood of many here I think.

Just not as strong as yesterday.

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#5 yawto
September 15 2012, 06:36PM
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I start to feel for these guys. The problems they endure. Having to go to war every negotiation just to eek out a living. Who thought hockey would he such an unstable occupation in the first place. Should have gone into something solid like mining or truck driving. Greedy losers. The whole bunch.

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#8 Unhealthy scratch
September 15 2012, 07:13PM
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Get busy livin or get busy dyin, as the guy said in Shawshank redemption.

The league is busy dyin, has been for a long time. Living would be turning yourself into the most compelling use a person could make of his eyeballs or his entertainment dollar, his time or his loyalty.

Since they seem committed to heading the other way instead, I have to figure they are busy dying.

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#10 Jarrett
September 15 2012, 08:05PM
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Ok, I've had this thought for about a week now, and I hope some version of it come to fruition while this lockout drags on. Since neither side can find solutions to their problems, why don't they assign a team of lawyers(?), ex-players, media, and perhaps even long time season holders perhaps, to monitor things within the League on a year to year basis. This way adjustments can be made to prevent disasters, and suggestions can be heard to help fix things aswell. Don't leave everything to a doomsday mentality like this...it's just plain stupid.

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#12 Wanyes bastard child
September 15 2012, 09:15PM
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How much for the windshield on a 2005 toyota tacoma?

With the money I'm going to be saving from hockey, might as well get it done eh :P

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#13 Mumbai Max
September 15 2012, 10:16PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Again (and for the last time) FAIL.

I'm not hiding behind anything. The "fact" I don't go near the Oilers unless I'm paid to do so and you can't wait to start throwing your money at them again is not a small difference, even if you don't have the capacity to realize that.

I'm neither emotionally married to the Oilers, as you are, nor to the job of writing about them. I like it fine, but that could turn on a dime. At some point, maybe I'll just take care of my son, work on my cars do something else, like sell auto glass.

I have to agree with Darren on this one Robin. If you followed through on what you wrote, you would go sell auto glass now, and not come back. That is directly analagous.

(not that we are requesting you do that!)

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#14 book¡e
September 15 2012, 06:46PM
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I watch on tv - no special package beyond TSN HD. I have never understood people who spend thousands on seasons tickets. I do go to a few games each year as my brother has tickets and I take them when he can't go.

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#15 oilw30
September 15 2012, 06:52PM
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Speaking of taking it in the rear, what about all the players trying to eke out a living who get displaced by restless millionaire NHL players?

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#16 Harlie
September 15 2012, 07:09PM
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I have a hard time trying to figure out if the Owners lose anything out of this other than goodwill from the fans, and the media momentum that LA garnered winning the Cup.

I mean who owns the Oilkings, who's games should be fuller and new fans will be made?

Katz

Who owns the crappy rundown Coliseum where the majority of workers who are the most affected out of this?

Northlands - score 1 for Katz again

Who owns the OKC Barons of which an incredible or maybe laughable 26 NHL players may be on the roster that should translate into new fans?

Katz

I think the players are gonna buckle. Not a matter of if, but when.

The Big Lebowski: Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski?

[the Dude walks out and shuts the door]

The Big Lebowski: The bums will always lose!

Brandt: How was your meeting, Mr. Lebowski?

The Dude: Okay. The old man told me to take any rug in the house.

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#17 Oilcruzer
September 15 2012, 07:18PM
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RB. Well said.

We don't need to be involved, at all. Anyone who follows who is asking for what, and takes a side, is not thinking this thru.

IT DOESNT MATTER WHO GETS HOW MUCH OF THE PIE TO JOE FAN.

If its a 50/50 split of 'x', at the end of the day, we still pay 100% of 'x'.

Said before and said again, call me when it's done but don't ask me to care who said what, or to take a side.

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#18 Jonathan Willis
September 15 2012, 07:22PM
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Nope, you're absolutely right, Robin. The NHL and NHLPA will get the message when revenue takes a major hit - and not before. And that will only happen when people stop going to games.

But the fact is, I still like watching the best hockey I can, and I'm not going to let the off-ice politics turn me away from the game. Eliminating the side expenses is really a way to make myself feel that I'm doing something to express my displeasure.

But I'll still be watching NHL hockey when it comes back.

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#19 ubermiguel
September 15 2012, 07:25PM
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My NFL fantasy pool will definitely get more attention this winter.

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#21 Mitch
September 15 2012, 07:37PM
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@Brownlee it is my understanding that all season ticket holders had to give the ticket money upfront and has been paid by all, unless of course they refused. In return the ticket holders get "oiler bucks" for games that get cancelled. So I guess if enough games get cancelled every ticket holder can buy a home and away jersey for every player on the oilers roster or maybe a new coat.

I'm not gonna stay away I love hockey always have always will. I would ask any young player such as RNH or Ebs would you rather earn 60-80g this yr or millions, over there career they will make north of 50-70 million the fans and business pay for this. How much are they really gonna loose.

I will not sit and feel sorry for the owners, they make lots of money as well there is no doubt some are losing money.

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#22 DSF
September 15 2012, 07:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Nope, you're absolutely right, Robin. The NHL and NHLPA will get the message when revenue takes a major hit - and not before. And that will only happen when people stop going to games.

But the fact is, I still like watching the best hockey I can, and I'm not going to let the off-ice politics turn me away from the game. Eliminating the side expenses is really a way to make myself feel that I'm doing something to express my displeasure.

But I'll still be watching NHL hockey when it comes back.

Pointless.

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#23 Darren
September 15 2012, 08:22PM
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When the NHL comes back are YOU going to stay away from it, Mr. Brownlee?

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#24 Word
September 15 2012, 08:26PM
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"By a conscious effort of the mind we can stand aloof from actions and their consequences; and all things, good and bad, go by us like a torrent."

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#25 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 15 2012, 08:41PM
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So you're trying to make me feel bad for wanting to watch the sport I love?

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#26 Darren
September 15 2012, 08:45PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

My job does not require me to support the Oilers or any other NHL team with money spent on tickets, TV packages, concessions, parking or souvenirs, and I don't.

If they stay at an impasse for one minute or 10 months, I'll write about it. If they drop the puck tomorrow, I'll write about it. If the NHL shuts the doors for good I'll write about something else.

Right, say the NHL comes back relatively soon. You'll go right back into writing about how many goals Jordan Eberle will score, or how Ales Hemsky's season will play out (just examples), and all this lockout nonsense will be completely forgotten. Nothing will change. Isn't this exactly what you are complaining about in your article? People just going back to the NHL as if nothing happened?

Forget about money, you are supporting the NHL by writing about it. Plain and simple. People read your articles and get jacked up about watching hockey. You're no better than the people you are calling out.

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#29 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 15 2012, 08:55PM
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It was rhetorical. They're selling a product I want, they kind of have me by the short and curlies. That Globe article was laying it on a bit thick, as well. I know some people who'd rather their kid play in the NHL than become a surgeon, but do you know people who have cried over Tim's commercials?

This all seems a tad on the dramatic side.

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#30 Darren
September 15 2012, 08:58PM
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Really? Because I think I'm making some good points. You're calling out people for flocking back to hockey games after the lockout, when you will do the exact same thing. You're just hiding behind the fact that it's your job to do so.

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#32 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
September 15 2012, 09:08PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Well yes and no. Either way, I don't buy the argument as you've presented it. All I'm getting from this is "it's your fault the players and owners make so much, now it's your fault they're able to stage a lockout."

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#33 steveb12344
September 15 2012, 09:37PM
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@Darren

What he is "complaining" about in the article is about people saying they will boycott, then go running back when it starts again. big difference.

It is funny that people want thier hockey so bad that they would do anything (boycotts etc) if there is some small chance it might convince them to start sooner. Pretty sure these people will not be staying away for even a minute after things start up again.

As far as the lockout itself goes. I think Fehr is the problem. It seems to me that since the NHL put out its first lowball offer, it was a starting point so they can haggle and eventually meet in the middle. Fehr is the one that keeps ignoring the NHL and sending back some different kind of deal.

He keeps the players on his side by playing the paycut card, and trying to convince them that he has some kind of vision.

He has known all along that the NHL isn't gonna play that. He has not been remotely interested in stopping this lockout. I believe it has been his plan all along.

It seems clear to me that all the NHL wants, is to sit down and work this out until they find a common point that both sides can agree to. Somewhere roughly in the middle of the current CBA, and thier "43%" first offer. Sounds like Gary wants 50/50 to me.

So Donald, please... Realise that this game is bigger than you, and even the players for that matter. Cut out the pissing contest, get off your high horse, and get your ass in the negotiating room, and work out the best deal you can off what the NHL is offering. Hell you might even get 51 if you play your cards right.

Until this happens, unfortunately the lockout will go on. No matter if anyone buys thier merch, or not.

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#34 Pouzar99
September 15 2012, 10:21PM
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@Jonathan Willis

On a lesser scale your small protest against the greed of the owners and players is like rebelling against institutionalized injustice when you know that your act of rebelling will not change things. You still do it because resisting what is wrong is necessary to retain your human dignity.

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#35 BigE91
September 15 2012, 10:28PM
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With the lockout almost assured earlier in the summer I refrained from purchasing my Oiler mini-packs. Which were released at least a month earlier than usual. If they settle quick,maybe I'll go and catch a game but it's going to be tough to really get behind the league after a third lockout.

And either Robin is really busy with the glass shop or he has softened his stance on the word that shall never be written in comment #1. So props to the individual who framed their comment to get one by the Bronte 3000.

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#37 The Soup Fascist
September 15 2012, 10:58PM
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Here lies the rub, Robin. When I give up my season's tickets there are 1800 people (at least 3600 tickets) ready to snap mine up.

So for the past 8 years, with the exception of a single playoff run, I have been "investing" in this team, a terrible team, waiting for the payoff.

When it finally looks like my "investment" is paying off in terms of having tickets to an exciting and soon to be competitive team, the "right thing to do" - and I agree with you that is the most effective statement to these boneheads - renders my "investment" as largely worthless.

Frankly, despite knowing it is a chickenpoop move, I won't be giving them up. I applaud those who do, but can't pull the trigger.

The proverbial rock and a hard place.

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#38 madjam
September 15 2012, 10:59PM
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Owners got exactly what they planned all along - a lockout . No bartering in good faith was ever the plan of owners and thus a deal was never going to get done unless players took a bath like last time . Owners underestimate damage to the game they created thru their ludicrous drawbacks knowing full well the union would never accept such drawbacks .

The balls all in owners hands now as union is solid against demands of drawbacks . Union now waits for owners to get serious about faithfull negotiations , for the union has been trying all along , It would serve the union well to also drawback their offer as it did little to appease owners . Treat it now like owners have been teating them by withdrawing any and all drawbacks they said they might help with .. There , now they'd be on equal ground again and maybe this time a fair settlement might be reached . Owners at fault here and they can end this . At least the players admire their fans , while owners seem to treat them more like pawns .

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#39 Manfly
September 15 2012, 11:11PM
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like the last lockout, i don't care if the NHL is around or not...i will watch football, and spend time on the 'net (maybe even watch a little wrestling!). for live hockey, i will attend more Oil King games.

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#40 Pouzar99
September 15 2012, 11:15PM
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There is no question that Robin is right to say that only lots of empty seats will have any influence on the future actions of the owners and players.

I also have no doubt that whether people choose to stop going or watching is totally up to them. There is no right or wrong decision in this case. I completely understand why some folks will throw up their hands and say I have better things to do then be jerked around by greedy people. Or why others may try hard to at least organize a boycott of the first game back, as some did in 2005. I also appreciate JW's decision to make his own personal statement of protest, knowing it will not change the NHL.

Finally, I also understand those who will resume their historical pattern of attending or watching games as soon as the puck drops again. That is what I intend to do. As I posted on JW's thread I dropped my season tickets for 2 years after the Gretzky sale but got them back when I realized I was only punishing myself. These things are personal. I refuse to shop at Wal Mart because, among other things, the owners are union-busting scum in my opinion. My actions will not change their policies, but it will prevent me from being tainted by them.

At this time I am not angry enough about the lockout to let it stop me from enjoying hockey games whenever they return. The fact that some ordinary workers will be hurt by the lockout gives me pause, but in the end I guess I am not sufficiently upset by that to stop going.

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#41 Oilcruzer
September 15 2012, 11:27PM
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Stuff like this

http://youtu.be/9bZkp7q19f0

makes the world go around.

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#42 Kodiak
September 15 2012, 11:35PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Here lies the rub, Robin. When I give up my season's tickets there are 1800 people (at least 3600 tickets) ready to snap mine up.

So for the past 8 years, with the exception of a single playoff run, I have been "investing" in this team, a terrible team, waiting for the payoff.

When it finally looks like my "investment" is paying off in terms of having tickets to an exciting and soon to be competitive team, the "right thing to do" - and I agree with you that is the most effective statement to these boneheads - renders my "investment" as largely worthless.

Frankly, despite knowing it is a chickenpoop move, I won't be giving them up. I applaud those who do, but can't pull the trigger.

The proverbial rock and a hard place.

I'm in that exact same spot. The almost $19k a year I spend on season seats could definitely be used elsewhere, but now that I've put that much in for quite a few years it seems silly to walk away just as we finally may se some decent results. If I knew I could get seats again I probably would have given them up for a year or two but I don't want to miss the rush of 2006 all over again. I actually have no issues with the timing of the lockout. I'll get a little more hunting in this fall and will get a break from the 2hr drive in to games. By December I know I'll be getting a little ansy to get back at it though.

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#43 Walter Sobchak
September 16 2012, 12:40AM
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I think this sum’s it up for me.

Gary. People will come, Gary. They'll come to Edmonton for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up at Rexal Place not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at the door as innocent as children, longing for the past. "Of course, we won't mind if you look around", they say, "It's only $600 per person". They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in the cramped chairs on a perfect winter afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the benches, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Gary. The one constant through all the years, Gary, has been hockey. Canada has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But hockey has marked the time. This ice, this game: it's a part of our past, Gary. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh...people will come Gary. People will most definitely come.”

James Earl Jones

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#44 V-Man
September 16 2012, 03:54AM
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I agree with pretty much all of the above. However, has anyone involved here, ownership, union side or fans realized the world is in a financial crisis. All of the dollars these greedy numbskulls are fighting over may all go away is international currency markets and governments start to fail?

In the event of a financial armageddon who will pay these contracts if the whole world of professional world goes dark. Last time I examined the necessities of life NHL hockey was not edible, wearable or life-sustaining.

I'm also floored by the 70% fan polls favoring the union position. That one shows me people are walking with heads up asses. Do we really think generationally with such a detached relationship with reality?

With Rexall's ham-handed approach to the so-called new arena downtown development it is mystifying how Katz has become a multi-billion-aire!

The wake-up process needs to start with the fans not the league or the union.

I'm a hockey fan who is thinking WTF! A $1000.00 for me to take my and two kids to gold seats at Rexall. Who is really the stupid one here?

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#45 Oil Fan in Ottawa
September 16 2012, 07:37AM
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I find it odd that Macgregor would call Canada's obsession with hockey "sick". Does he not realize that it is a global phenomenon? The same can be said about Americans and baseball/football, Europeans and soccer, India and cricket or Australia and Rugby (mostly assuption on the last two). Seems like an odd statement for him to make considering the entire world is obsessed with sport.

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#46 Reagan
September 16 2012, 08:38AM
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It sunk in yesterday that I'm really going to miss hockey... Ironically it struck me as I sat down to play NHL2013 on the XBox with my 10 year old. As pissed off as I am with the lockout and the stupid arena deal, cut down to the brass tax. I'm going to miss the training camp coverage, watching the skates on my days off, opening night, and my full blown HD coverage on my Telus TV...

I gave up buying tickets years ago. Not because of Rexall place, just a there mere cost of the ticket. Games in Rexall are like that smell and comfort of home after a long trip. All gone... Whatever is the outcome of this lockout I think most of us fail to see it's just a game. It's not a tradition even though some of those have been created. It's not a religion even those that follow think it is. It a game and greed is destroying it...

It's sad when you have kids that grow into men and dream their whole lives to be in the big show and now they want a bigger piece of the pie that the guys that invest all the money into the show... Wasn't this all about a game?

A black rubber puck, some wooden hockey sticks, a backyard ice sheet, skates, a cool winters day, and a group of kids in winter coats with their favorite 99 jersey on their backs and scream "Gretzky scores for the stanley cup...."

What have you guys done to this game?

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#47 DieHard
September 16 2012, 09:10AM
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This lockout is the result of expansion to non-hockey markets followed by fiscal crisis followed by unemployment followed by fighting for sports entertainment dollars resulting in hockey losing those dollars in those markets. Oiler tickets are $100; Coyotes tickets are $30. Do we subsidize those markets or relocate or contract? I believe that relocation and contraction would solve a lot of the Owners issues. Down the road when/if the economies come back then maybe expansion can happen again.

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#49 Minister D-
September 16 2012, 10:52AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Again (and for the last time) FAIL.

I'm not hiding behind anything. The "fact" I don't go near the Oilers unless I'm paid to do so and you can't wait to start throwing your money at them again is not a small difference, even if you don't have the capacity to realize that.

I'm neither emotionally married to the Oilers, as you are, nor to the job of writing about them. I like it fine, but that could turn on a dime. At some point, maybe I'll just take care of my son, work on my cars do something else, like sell auto glass.

Please Robin (if I may), stick with your first intuition: write about something else. Not that you need the encouragement, but don't let the mouth-breathers (that goes for the NHL owners and players as well as internet wags) convince you to retire the quill for auto-glass. Personally, I'd be very interested to read whatever "else" happens to be.

Like superhero movies, I'm tiring of the ubiquitous "business" of hockey and the slavishness that it expects from us. I love the sport, and probably always will, but I've subsisted for years without having to spend too much of my rather scant wages on it. What I think I'll miss is not the game itself so much as the social connections it allows me to have with friends, family, and virtual communities like OilersNation.

At the same time, it's not impossible to make these connections doing other, more fulfilling and non-hockey related, things. I concur absolutely with MacGregor's assessment about our national disease. And since Canadians basically suck at everything that isn't hockey, we filter our sense of inadequacy into overzealous hockey nationalism, the kind of saccharine nonsense that exists purely as a cynical attempt to "sell" the game.

I can't say that I won't absolutely come back to the game when it does return, but for the first time in my life, it really is an open question. Indifference is setting in, and once it does, that could be all she wrote for me and the NHL.

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#50 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
September 16 2012, 11:01AM
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Feels good to argue the easy argument, RB? Doesn't it?

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