Having no NHL season is no problem

Unless you’ve been living somewhere that has no possible way of receiving communication from the outside world for the last couple of weeks, you already are quite familiar with the latest goings-on in the NHL’s collective bargaining negotiations.
As the days drag on, and neither the league nor the NHLPA willing to give an inch, it seems a lockout is a distinct possibility yet again for the second time in the past decade.
People already are upset about the fact there might not be a chance to see their favourite pro teams in action this winter, with the blame game going towards both sides.
However, for those who have no idea what they’re going to do for their entertainment this winter, may I suggest a few different options.
While it may sound obvious (and is something most people should be doing already), instead of staying at home to watch a game, you can head off to your local arena to catch your hometown team in action.
Granted, there already is a lot of support for the Lakers, the Thunderhawks, and the Muskie programs here, and the minor hockey programs are strong throughout the area.
But those who ply their trade here love to play in front of their hometown fans. And when the Ice For Kids arena is packed like it was during the Lakers’ run to the SIJHL finals this spring, and every year when the Muskie boys take on International Falls, it certainly is a happening place.
However, let’s say there isn’t a game taking place in town that night. What is one trying to get their hockey fix to do then?
Depending on what the Canadian TV networks have planned in case of a lengthy NHL lockout, I wouldn’t be surprised if additional live coverage is given to the CHL and NCAA hockey, along with the AHL.
Personally speaking, I’ve always found the Major Junior, and especially the collegiate brands of hockey, to be far more entertaining than the professional game. So the fact that more people will get a chance to check it out is something I think might be good in the long run.
Mind you, I’m also hoping the KHL over in Russia might get a game or two televised here this winter, but I’m not holding my breath on that.
The biggest thing I think could happen from this potential lockout, though, especially with many not seeing a quick resolution, is that people who are hockey fans start following other sports.
During the previous lockout, which wiped out the entire 2004/05 season, I was in my Grade 11 year of high school back home in Sault Ste. Marie. And that winter, the main topic of conversation among most of my fellow sports-loving classmates was about the NFL with no NHL games taking place.
While you might think the hockey talk would resume once again the following season, football already had become the king among the most popular sport for my fellow classmates during my Grade 12 year.
Now perhaps this is more of a generational thing, but I can see that sort of thing happening once again if there is a second NHL lockout.
Let’s face it, the NFL is white-hot when it comes to popularity at the moment south of the border, and both the NBA and Major League Baseball have seen increased attendance figures in recent years.
Plus, it’s not just the big leagues that could benefit from an NHL lockout. During the previous labour stoppage, attendance and ratings for the CFL were the highest that had been at that point, especially when it came to the 2004 Grey Cup.
And while they may not be big in the mainstream sense to some, I wouldn’t be surprised if more people start to look at the likes of curling or soccer to get their sporting fixes.
While I think we all can agree that another NHL lockout is not a good thing to have, to say it’s a crisis for sports fan in this country is a bit of an overstatement.
Plus, I think almost every family member of a sports junkie probably would be more excited by the fact that they would have more of a say in controlling the remote this winter.

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