As the lockout is on its 88th day at the moment. After the dramatic collapse of the last talks the fans across the globe have grown increasingly apathetic and tired of the lockout. I know I have been critical of the NHL and its approach to the negotiations. As I’m writing this, the two parties are meeting at a secret location (I’m told it is the same hotel in New Jersey that they have been using) and are trying to bring an end to this silly lockout. But in light of the dramatic conclusion of the talks, what have the fans been doing since then? Many have voiced their displeasure through Twitter and Facebook. Despite the unified disappointment from the fans side, to both the lockout and the way the talks have been going, it is safe to say that the fans do care about the game and the league.
There has been fan initiatives, like the Youtube video from Janne Makkonen at the start of the lockout, which has generated over a million views already. The great emotive video drew the attention of the players and hockey fans alike.
Most recently there have been groups created on Facebook like Stop The NHL Lockout, where people have been venting their frustrations and sharing news of the lockout. More recently though groups like NHLNFA, which is aiming to set up a fans’ union and claims that this is the only way to have NHL and NHLPA to listen to the fans. However good the intentions of the NHLNFA are, I can’t help but wonder how or why the NHL and NHLPA should listen to a Fans’ union in anything that has to do with the game. The site says that its goal is to get to “1 million members and they (NHL and NHLPA) will have choice (sic) but to listen to us. IT’s not fair the fans don’t have a vote that counts at any of the meetings, not only with strikes or lockout but for anything NHL related.” It’s a lofty goal and personally I can’t see the NHL or NHLPA ever agreeing to let a fans union to have decision making power in what essentially is a business. The NHL can surely listen to fans in how to make the product better, but to actually allow them a vote? Can’t see that happening.
The group that I have become a fan of and think that they have a great idea is the Just Drop It group. The idea behind Just Drop It is that for every game the NHL takes away after the 21st of December, fans boycott the league for the equivalent number of games after the lockout comes to an end. The idea goes for attending games at rinks, watching games on TV or buying any NHL apparel. In my personal opinion this is a great movement from the fans who clearly love hockey, but have grown tired of the way the past 18 years and three lockouts have gone down. The group was only established on the 4th of December but has already surpassed 11,000 likes on Facebook. After a slick Youtube video from the group, it has also had serious global mainstream media pick up on the movement and has ultimately done it some good. The video has already been seen by over 38,000 people.
If enough people will do as the pledge says, it would send a clear message to the league that the fans will not tolerate the behaviour that has happened in the past 88 days.
So please, go check out the Facebook page, checkout the video and start spreading the pledge and stick to it. We all want hockey back, I think that’s clear, but at the same time, we don’t want to be taken for another silly ride like this.
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