Print Edition: January 16, 2013
January 6, 2013, Canadians everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief. The infamous lockout is over and hockey, in all its glory, has returned to Canada.
In a matter of hours the main topic of casual conversation has shifted completely, from complaining bitterly about hockey to discussing it eagerly and with reverence. The endless stream of comments about greedy millionaires and overpaid, bickering children has quickly transformed to praise for the athletes who compete for our unwavering faith. What happened to all the promises of ignoring the NHL once it finally came back? How many fans swore that they wouldn’t support a league that mistreated its fans in such a way? If social media is any indication, those promises will ring empty, as fans began to flock back to the association that had neglected them for months.
Now just days after the lockout has ended, newspapers are back to their daily trumpeting of hockey, leaving every other sport to battle for page 15 of the sports section. Sportscasts are showing highlights of year-old games, and analysts are talking about potential trades, trades that will likely never occur. And the NHL season has yet to begin! Worse still are the individuals who have dragged their Canucks jerseys out of the depths of their closets to parade around the campus and show their undying love for the league that has abused them for the better majority of five months. For media to cover the NHL is one thing – it’s their job and it gets the ratings. But for the fans to turn around and accept this abuse without question?
I can get the pride that hockey brings Canadians, and I understand the passion locals have, particularly for the Canucks, but could we not at least collectively pretend to play hard to get? Is it just me who has a hard time swallowing the double doses of irrelevant hockey news and highlights the media shoves down my throat?
Don’t get me wrong, hockey is great. I love to watch a game just as much as the average fan, but is it really that all-encompassing in our small little worlds? Instead of turning back to our TV screens to stare at endless highlights of men on ice often thousands of miles away, go to a local sporting event – the Abbotsford Heat, or any Cascades varsity game. To really turn your world upside down maybe go try and play a sport in your spare time! Whatever you did to fill the seven months of relatively hockey-free time, realize that it was likely more productive than screaming at a glowing box and cursing about power plays and blown saves. That angry person inside you who swore off hockey this year is in there somewhere, and I urge you to find that person before you get buried underneath memories of goals, save percentages and Don Cherry’s obnoxious suits.