The NHL is set to return to arenas and HDTVs everywhere next Saturday, just as soon as that shiny new CBA is ratified. If you think for a minute that this Lady is thrilled, you are sadly mistaken. Because no. I wasn’t kidding when I told this league to take to the curb. I really, truly have no interest in tuning into Hockey Night in Canada next weekend, or any weekend this winter for that matter. The Leafs could actually make the postseason and I would not bat an eyelash.
It seems I’m not the only one who feels this way. Reaction to the return of the NHL has been decidedly mixed, and a movement exists to simply boycott the NHL. On a personal level, I have so far counted more hockey fans in my circles ready to ignore the NHL than fans that have expressed excitement over its return. And I’m not sure what the coverage has been like in the U.S. (I can guess…) but in Canada, any inkling of action or non-action by NHL players and owners has been reported on ad nauseum. I realize that the CBC and TSN have vested interests in the return of the NHL. But when I heard via Twitter (because I was with my kid at curling) that Sunday NFL Countdown on TSN had been scuttled last weekend in place of more “OMGOMGOMG THE NHL IS BACK!!!” coverage, on Wild Card weekend, on the day Ray Lewis was possibly playing his NFL final game, I was angry. I had my fill of this garbage.
I realize that my personal action will do nothing to impact the pockets of NHL owners and players. I don’t live in a pro sports market. I subscribe to sports games packages, I buy licensed gear and I plan occasional trips., but these are small gestures that have little to no effect. I am simply an unpaid advocate for my favourite sports league. Those who will create the biggest impact will be those who actually attend the games, but I honestly don’t think a social media-led boycott will be enough to keep those fans away. I’d love to see it, but I also don’t want to see people working concessions getting laid off because fans aren’t buying $9 beer and returning to their $60 seats.
So the NHL. Whatever. How do you feel about its return? Relieved? Thrilled? Disinterested? Apathetic? Let us know in the comments. There are no wrong answers.