Hockey fans north of the 49th parallel might say they’re mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it from Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr any more – that they won’t return even when NHL hockey eventually does — but TEAM 1260 talk show host Jason Strudwick isn’t buying it.

For all the noise some Canadian fans are making about turning their backs on the NHL after the third work stoppage during Bettman’s tenure – "I’m done with it, I’m finished," screw those guys" – Strudwick is calling BS, and did so repeatedly tonight on his show. Fans might talk the talk, but they won’t walk the walk, as in walk away.

"I guarantee it," Strudwick said, suggesting not only that most, but all, fans of the Edmonton Oilers and other Canadian teams will be back when the lockout eventually ends. "I guarantee you’re coming back."

Not some. Not most. All. I found that take rather astounding, so I messaged Strudwick during his show. I asked him about his first reference to "all" fans coming back because he later said "most" fans would be back. "Which is it?" I asked. "All or most?" He replied: "Good point. I am going with all."


Back on the air after the break, Strudwick didn’t only stand his ground, he didn’t waste any time reiterating his point. Lots of whining now, but when the puck drops and Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins come racing through the gate, you’ll all be back at Rexall Place or tuning in on the television. All talk, no action.

"All NHL fans are coming back to watch the game, in Canada," he said. "That’s just simple. I have a lot of complaints from people. Walking down the street I get Tweets, I get texts all the time from people on the show saying, "I’m not coming back. I’m done with the NHL. I’ll never come back.’

"I’m saying you’re wrong. I’m saying you will come back. All NHL fans will come back in Canada. The U.S. is a little different story. We can get into that another day."

I can’t say I share Strudwick’s optimism. I see far more fans staying away this time than was the case in 2004-05. Then again, as Bettman intimated in the early stages of this lockout, the NHL has the greatest fans, which many interpreted to mean the overwhelming majority will be back, ticket, TV and jersey money in hand.

What say you? Is your money where your mouth is or is that dough already earmarked for ticket mini-packs and souvenirs?

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

  • BigE91

    They say never say never but I think it will be a long time before I pay to watch a game again. With the way the lockout has gone along with the subversive way the Oilers and other NHL teams pushed their season tickets, mini-packs and single game seats far earlier than a normal year when they knew full well that the season would not start on time if at all.

    Canadians will come back to the game but neither the league nor the players deserve it. They could care less about the fans, and we shouldn’t care about them.

  • D'oh-ilers

    Don’t confuse the fact that because we’re still here means we’re still obsessed about the game itself. Some of us simply like to watch process, to see what the game being played in the CBA is. Some like to watch a train wreck. Most people are bored lemmings that only do / follow what they are used to, but too much time away or too many times being forced to deal with a loss = less likelihood to return with the inunhibited elation as before, which leads many to be a little more cautious.
    To not see the above or to consider the many other avenues in life that psychologically drive us as individuals is to remain in the delusional merry-go-round that the NHLPA seems to think will stop.
    Someone best inform them of what the attendance figures in MLB were when things got rough.
    And for those slamming Bettman for the work stoppages, look at Fehr’s record on the issue. Who’s been involved in more work stoppages? And the lpayers wanting Bettman’s head for all those stopages, remember – you hired the guy with the worst track record of them all.