When news of the NHL lockout ending broke, I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers what the NHL could do to make it up to them. Here are a some of their responses (not including "free tickets" and "fire Bettman"):
John L. - They should hold a Family Night, similar to what he NFL does, for little or no cost to the fans. They should also take out ads in media, thanking the fans for their patience.
- This seems like the easiest way to say "thanks" and "sorry." You can count on the on-ice message being there.
Mike S. - Lowered ticket prices for the whole season, including playoffs to get people into the buildings. They haven't lost the hard cores but may have lost the casual fan.
- Lower price tickets could be an option, but the NHL can't control that. Only teams can. Teams that will need support (Phoenix, Columbus, etc) will almost assuredly offer some sort of benefit package to ticket buyers. Road trip, anyone?
Chris H. - NHL.com viewing and NHL Center Ice should be free to fans for rest of season.
- Bingo! This is the best answer I've seen...and I've seen it from a lot of people. Cable providers can't be to thrilled with the league right now, but it's a make good to hockey fans that would truly be appreciated and mean something.
Katie K. - Reduced prices on gear (jerseys, etc) and an agreement -- if possible -- with network providers on NHL packages beyond the obvious shortened season reduction. I'd like to see free, but cable providers would never go for it, so whatever the NHL can negotiate.
- Again, I think this would have to be a team to team thing, but I'd be shocked if NHL.com didn't have some sort of "Welcome Back Special" this week.
Chris L. - Change the remaining schedule to just play divisional teams. So every home game is a want to go to game. That would make the playoffs so much better. Bring the rivalry level up.
- While the new schedule is being pounded out as we speak, I love this idea. Truthfully, this season will likely be mostly divisional and conference play.
Casey M. - They need to agree to a method to negotiate the next CBA in the 9th year of this one to avoid any chance of a lockout next time. No more lockouts is the only thing I need as a fan!
- I agree completely. It seems every league waits until the final moments to negotiate these things. I know...it's a leverage thing. Without the threat of a lost season, no one has any power. Well, looky here....the players lost in almost every category anyway. This could have been done long ago.
Brett L. - Make good on the Winter Classic. Season opener in primetime?
- I really felt myself missing the Winter Classic this year. I don't think it's realistic to do it this year. There are too many moving parts...but a double bill next season would be sweet.
David M. - Donate gate receipts from first week of games to Sandy Relief. Players should donate as well.
- I don't think anyone would argue with this.
Coop29 - How about cut the league down to 20 teams and give fans the best hockey they have ever seen? People will come back.
- That would be phenomenal, but will never happen.
JB Quinn - How about free parking and first drink free for each ticket holder?
- That's a realistic idea if it's not an alcoholic beverage.
Kevin - Don't charge season ticket holders for any preseason games.
- Seems fair to me, but I just don't see it happening. If it did, I would be totally shocked.
Michael M. - Buy one ticket, get one free. Make all players available after games for autographs.
- The buy one get one offer won't be needed in Chicago. I suspect most Hawks games will be close to capacity. The autograph thing would be great, but could be tough to coordinate every game with a compressed schedule. If time and travel allow, they should absolutely do that.
Jim C. - Allow a lucky fan to award the Stanley Cup next June...no ore booing Bettman debacle before the presentation.
- Boy...this would really be awesome. They could do it every year. Pick the winning team's longest term season ticket holder or something. It'll never happen...the Count has to get on TV somehow.
Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas to the blog. Stay tuned for more today and later in the week.