Early this morning, after an all day and night bargaining session between the NHL and NHLPA, with an assist to US federal mediators, a tentative agreement was reached that should lead to a shortened 2013 season, that will allegedly begin in the next couple of weeks.
It is reported that it will be a ten-year deal so most current players will not have to go through another labor dispute during their careers and fans will not have another lockout looming on the horizon anytime soon.
The big winners in the dispute resolution are the folks whose livelihood depends on games being played and fans filling the arenas. All of the arena workers who have lost 15 or 16 home games worth of income should soon be manning their posts in 30 venues across North America.
Other businesses and employees that depend on foot traffic from games to sell dinners, drinks, and fan related merchandise are also on the winning side of the ledger.
I am also thrilled for journalists and radio media who can actually discuss topics related to the actual sport of hockey instead of the latest rumors (or lack there of) regarding the negotiations.
I have hung with NHL Radio on XM for the duration of the lockout and found that they are quite entertaining without hockey as the centerpiece of the discussion. I am looking forward to the drone of the season where the arguments are about how many games someone should be suspended for an illegal hit.
The big losers, in the short run, are the owners and players who pissed away a third of the season and came across as greedy entities with no regard for the game of hockey or the fans that provide the revenue to be able to earn livings based on playing and presenting a child’s game from frozen ponds of the north.
So what now? Do the fans act as mindless drones and run back to the arenas as they did after the 2004-2005 lockout or have they found other things to do to fill time and spend their entertainment dollars.
My friend Su Ring compared the situation to a boyfriend or girlfriend that disappears for six months and then shows back up on the front doorstep one day and expects things to be the same with no love lost.
From a look at social media today, it appears most fans don’t mind getting ignored by their boy/girlfriend as long as they eventually come back.
I understand the intense love of the game that is somewhat special to hockey fans but before they go all giddy, they should really take a hard look at what has occurred over the last hundred plus days and consider how they have been treated by those who are supposed to be the caretakers of the game.
Forgiveness is a great virtue but not one to be taken lightly.