Wednesday, February 16, 2005


No, that's not a dig at the folks who read our work and wonder why anybody, especially us, would give a damn about hockey. Let's just say that the post title, which is a line from Green Day's 9-plus minute epic "Jesus Of Suburbia", sums up my thoughts about the NHL Lockout as well as any line I could come up with. Score one for the boys from the Bay Area. Sadly, I'm not talking about the San Jose Sharks here.

That's right, in case you've been swarmed by endless "Step By Step" reruns or working hard and making your hard-earned money, the NHL has officially cancelled the 2004-2005 season. Of course, I've been expecting this for over 3 months now. But it doesn't make this day seem any less painful than it is. Painful, because I'm a hockey fan. An NHL hockey fan, to be exact. I've tried to watch the token college hockey games on Fox College Sports, to no avail. If I don't like Michigan or Wisconsin in football, then why would I want to watch those schools play hockey?

While David has a hockey team to support (the Puget Sound Tomahawks), I don't. The minor league hockey team from these parts folded about 2 years ago. The closest minor league team to my house is the Memphis Riverkings of the Central Hockey League, but they play in Southaven, Mississippi. So, with the NHL not playing any games for the past 5 months, I've pretty much been left with nothing as far as the coolest game on earth goes.

What does this hockey lockout mean? This day was eventually coming. It would have been a joke to have had a 25-game regular season if it had come to that. Most sports fans in the United States already don't care about the NHL, so what would have the NHL's image looked like had they played just a 25-game regular season? The integrity of the game would have been at stake. Although, in reality, the integrity of the game is already at stake, with the cancellation of an entire season.

There's not really much more for me to add here, because there really isn't a positive to be found about the NHL not playing at all. I can only hope that when the game comes back, that the league has a better marketing plan in place. In cities such as Raleigh, North Carolina, the NHL is an afterthought. That's pretty sad to consider, because just 3 years ago, the Hurricanes were in the Stanley Cup Finals. But with ACC basketball and NASCAR in the region, who knows what will happen to teams like the Hurricanes in the months to come.

The National Hockey League is officially done until September at least. Unfortunately, there aren't too many people in this country who care about the game right now.

At this point, I'm on the brink of not caring myself. Thanks, Gary.

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