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What About the Fans



blog-0126959001345588933.jpgAs another work stoppage seems to be more and more likely I have people ask me what side do I favor? My answer always is neither, I'm on the fans side. I'm on the side of the people that are responsible for the growth of the game. The group that is truly affected by this lockout. When are the fans going to matter again in sports is the real questions? The fans put the dollars into the owners pockets and allow them to pay the players. Without the fans the NHL would not be in exsistence or seen in a growth in revenue over the last 7 or 8 years.

Now as owners and players sit here argue over the splitting of millions of dollars, I'm supposed to favor one side? The owners are complaining on how much money they are losing when the game is at an all time high in revenue. They complain about player salaries and yet they offer max contracts to players. Owners are are feverishly trying to lock up their young talent to large deals before the end of the CBA on September 15th. It's all hypocritical from the owners side if you ask me. They are making money at an all time great rate when the game is arguably at an all-time low in entertainment value.

On the players side, they do have an argument of not wanting to be taken to wood shed like the last CBA however their salaries are at an all time high as well. Let me give you a few examples. Paul Gaustad had 6 goals last season, is a good PK player, and is good on face offs. He makes 3.25 million dollars for the next 3 years. Mike Fisher 24 goals last season and 51 points makes 4.2 million for the next 3 years. David Jones 20 goals and 37 points last year makes 4 million dollars for the next four years. Tim Connolly who cannot play more than 60 games a season or put up points makes 4.5 million dollars. Shea Weber gets 26 million dollars over the next two seasons, Parise and Suter 20 million. I could go on, but I think I've made my point.

When does the common fan ever get a say in these negotiations. The person who works 40+ hours week 5 or more days a week, that fills these millionaires pockets. Look at the venues like the Air Canada Center, MSG, and the Mad House to name a few. They are filled by wealthy people now who don't care about the game while the die hard fans have to sit at home because ticket prices are to expensive. It dulls down the fan interaction in the arena's and make the games seem less interesting. Winnipeg is a working class city that has affordable ticket prices for it's fans and it shows during games. The MTS Centre is filled with die hard fans every night. The HSBC Arena (now First Niagara Center) used to be like that. However as the on ice product has declined the ticket prices continue to rise. The common fan is no longer able to go to 20 plus games a season now it's maybe 5. The atmosphere in the FN Center has suffered and I'm sure it has happened all over the league.

We might not have hockey until Christmas, but the NHL and NHLPA don't care they will get their money anyways. It's the fans who lost out in the end.

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