To the NHL owners and players,
It is clear that we the fans are powerless to end this lockout. Collectively, we spend a lot of our hard earned money to support you and for most of us, it is baffling that you cannot seem to find a way to equitably split 3+ billion dollars in a way that rewards talent fairly and keeps all 30 teams competitive. Actually, it's kind of galling. Admittedly, we are enablers. We buy contemptuously overpriced food at games after we pay an arm and a leg just to sit down. We buy the merchandise, we buy the cable package and if our team wins the cup, we double down and buy that much more. We love the game and no matter what happens, we will return to watch the game and just live with the fact that we really have come to dislike most of you. You will live with that fact and get over it quickly once the checks start to hit your accounts again. While it is entertainment for us, for the majority of you, it is simply business. As in the real world, the least talented among you will be hit very hard by this lockout and possibly never work again doing what you love the most. Peripherally, thousands of people who work the concessions, take the tickets, guide people to seats, run the parking, clean the stadium and on and on will also pay the price and some will never recover enough to keep doing the work they were doing. No one forced them to do that work, regardless, they aren't doing it now and the only economics that are keeping them from doing their jobs are the economics of disparity. The strongest teams and the highest paid players don't remotely want parity and they damn well don't want a dime of what they feel is "theirs" to go to someone or some team they feel is beneath them. At the risk of getting overly political, we've seen this before and this attitude pretty much dominates everything today.
It would be nice if we could truly start a De-Occupy Hockey movement and stop feeding you so much money to fight over. Undoubtedly, you have already done this yourselves to some degree. But, the fact remains we will be back and you will jack up the prices of everything to make us pay for being pissed off about missing hockey. We don't need any of you to return to keep our love for the game and the game itself does not need any of you to survive. But if we want to continue to see the highest level of hockey played here in North America and if we want to see people get back to work supporting it, we have no choice really but to root for an equitable solution when what we'd really like to see is both of you lose. To get what we want, we have to continue enriching you with far more money then is reasonable for what you give in return and in the long run, enriching you is what we will continue to do. Still, if only for awhile, it would be nice to De-Fund hockey and put that energy and money to genuine good use by giving it to people whose lives can be improved by doing so. Additionally, it would also give us a way to let go of being annoyed by your complete indifference to anyone but yourselves. Your indifference is becoming our indifference and if recent events in the real world haven't sent a clear enough message about where indifference leads, then maybe it's time for us fans to get off our asses and send a message by being engaged in something that isn't dominated by the concept of winner, loser and profit above everything.
To fellow fans, we have a proposal for redirecting or reapplying a substantial portion of revenue that we would typically steer toward the NHL. By now, we all have likely heard some form of these suggestions, such as stay away for the first few games and let the players know we are annoyed. While this sounds good in principle, it benefits no one and only continues to add to the bad vibe this lockout has generated. We propose that instead of letting that seat go empty, why not find a charity that will take disabled children or even a schoolroom of kids from a poor neighborhood. You certainly don't need to walk far away from the United Center to find such a school. When it comes to money that will be spent, sit down and add up a realistic figure on what you spend each year on NHL related gear and find a charity to give that money to, heck, you can even donate it in the name of the NHL or in the name of a player you think is the biggest spoiled bitch in hockey. If you don't have season tickets and still go to 4-5 games a year, take the rest of this season off (if it starts) and commit those hours to a charity AFTER the holiday season is over. Additionally, support sub level NHL hockey wherever you can, be it AHL, ECHL, College or Juniors. If you have a local rink, why not give some money to a kids team to help buy gear? When you are done, come back and let us know where you spent your time or money and champion a cause you want people to know about. In short, there is plenty that we can do. Since it isn't realistic that we steer ALL money away, we recommend giving at least half of it away, call it a 50/50 proposal if you will. We can't change hockey, and we likely won't change the world in six months. But if we can absorb some indifference and use it to get us engaged in something useful, there is absolutely no downside.