NHL lockout endures

By Lindsey Woods

Unless the only place you go for sports news is ESPN, you know there’s an NHL lockout. Yeah, that’s still happening. The league has effectively canceled games through November, and the Winter Classic, otherwise known—by me—as the Great Money-Making Outdoor Game, has also been canceled.

If those prospects don’t seem bleak enough, owners and players haven’t met for negotiations since Oct. 18, and even then it was for only for an hour.

Although I tend to believe all lockouts are stupid and people who can’t meet a negotiation deadline should be fired, at least the NFL and the NBA were able to salvage their seasons during their most recent lockouts. They’ve never locked out a whole season, unlike the NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman, who shut down the entire 2004–2005 season.

Sure, the lockout has spurred many funny memes and YouTube videos (check out “NHL Lockout Explained with Beer”), but no hilarious Internet parody can remedy the heartbreak of living without hockey. The cancellation of the Jan. 1 Winter Classic is a crushing blow akin to getting coal for Christmas even though you’ve been good all year. Most importantly, it would be the strongest indicator thus far that owners are serious about locking out the entire season.

What pisses me off the most about this lockout is that neither side is trying very hard to come to an agreement. Plenty of people are very passionate about professional hockey, and it’s infuriating that there seems to be no urgency to resolve the issue. The players are off doing their thing in Russia and Switzerland while collecting escrow checks, and the owners are retreating to their vacation homes and wiping their bums with money while we plebeian fans mourn the prospect of another lost season.

Instead of waiting for the NHL and the Players’ Association to nipple twist each other into reaching a deal, we fans should band together and learn to play hockey ourselves. Then we can sue the NHL for all the resulting concussions and use our settlement money to start a new professional hockey league. That would be much more satisfying than watching the Bulls play without Derrick Rose.

But in all seriousness, this lockout trend is getting ridiculous. “Labor negotiations” is just a euphemism for “I already make a lot of money, so there’s not a fire under my butt to get anything done.” Sure, both sides want a fair deal, but they had the whole offseason to reach one.

Owners and players need to be held accountable for these standstills. Fans should be boycotting regular season games (if there are any) and refusing to give money to a league that doesn’t have our best interests in mind. It’s hard, but it may be what has to happen to break the lockout cycle.