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A City Hurts For Its Hockey


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It might be from a Montreal point of view but one that is shared...

from Steven Hindle on Hockeybuzz

"The NHL lockout is in Day "waytoomany" and fans are starting to really get grumpy.

Who can blame them?

With the core of the lockout issues centering around "how do we split up all that money the fans give us every year," it's becoming tiresome.

Truth be told, fans in many cities are gladly taking their dollars elsewhere at the moment. Football, baseball and entertainment events ought to cover the Fall menu nicely for sports fans. At least, in most towns.

It's not quite the same in Montreal.

While the Alouettes (CFL) and Impact (MLS) have enjoyed full houses, their seasons are about to run out. And with no Habs games in sight, the city of Montreal is bracing for a cold winter.

Without a single professional sports team to occupy their time, hockey fans in Montreal will have to look outside of the city for their fix. And that's terrible news for a city that thrives on Habs game nights.

While the city of Montreal isn't alone in dealing with the bleak prospect of a hockey-less winter, it doesn't console fans, nor does it help the financial outlook of many institutions counting on hockey fans to get them through the leaner months.

Sadly, while the big money players in this situation bicker about a pot bigger than we could ever dream of sharing, it is the little guys, the sticky mass of loyal hockey fans which hurt the most.

The trickle down effect of the players not seeing any paycheques isn't that dire as opportunities abound in Europe. The same cant be said for those whose jobs depend on those players staying right where they're supposed to be.

Of course, the purse strings tie all the way back to you, me and every other person out there whose heart strings are tugged by the sound of a skate blade crunching the ice, the puck ricocheting off the boards and the invisible vibrations we all embrace with each and every bone crunching hit.

The owners don't fund the growth of the game, they (and, to be fair, the players as well) are the biggest beneficiaries of our stupendous love of hockey.

So why take it from us?

We're drooling to spend dollars on your game, and yet our money isn't good enough?

Donald Fehr mentioned that the NHL might consider taking a look in the mirror. And, though I'd say he's not wrong, I think the establishment as a whole should take a step back and look in the mirror.

Are they really being progressive and genuine by running us through this gauntlet?

It begs to be seen if the fans will be tossed a bone in this situation, but from where I sit, I can already tell you that a winter without Canadiens hockey in Montreal is already taking its toll.

Finally, as someone who is moving into his sixth season of covering this game and two incredible teams in the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens, I can't tell how absurdly frustrating it is to try and focus on producing poignant pieces on the locked-out game I love. There is so much to talk about, but with it hidden behind bars at the moment, it's downright disheartening to think of how much I was looking forward to in this now phantom 2012-13 season.

With each day that passes and each $100 Million increment of revenue that is lost, the more the NHL and NHLPA's casual meeting schedule irks the masses.

I would wager that if either side were truly serious about the good of the game and cared enough about the fans, those who fund the very existence of this league, they'd take their sessions to the next level and talk through the night.

Get to it, guys. Give us our hockey back."

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