This is my obligatory lockout post. I’ve stayed out of this long enough. Now I’m just flustered and have a lot of stuff to say. Everyone is freaking out about a season that may not happen. Note I said “may not” happen. It’s not september 15th yet. Anything can happen. The probability that there will be no lockout is far greater than the Cubs chances at winning a world series. As God as my witness if there is no 2012-2013 NHL season then the Chicago Cubs will win the world series in 2013. That’s right I said it. Enjoy my thoughts on the lockout. Well I have a feeling I’m going to incite a riot with a few of the things I have to say.
Hurts more than just the players and the owners
A lockout will not just put the players and owners to out of a job. Technically they won’t be out of a job. Players can go overseas and play if they want. Owners will still make money even if their team doesn’t play. What about the ticket sellers, the ushers, the custodial workers? What about the vendors, the bartenders ? What about the ice girls, the mascots, the stadium Djs? They are all going to lose a job or not get paid. I have heard that some people working within the organizations will still have a job. They will just have a different role in the organization for the length of the lock out. I don’t know if that goes for everyone. If I worked for the organization I would be scared for my job. This is about more than just the players and the owners. You are playing with the lives of those who are struggling to pay the rent or put food on the table. I don’t know the players. I don’t know the owners. Maybe they know all of this. Maybe they don’t. I just hope these people are in their thoughts as they negotiate.
Players going overseas
I know how bad you want to continue playing hockey. Believe me when I say I know not having a job stinks. I do wonder one thing. Why wouldn’t you stay and fight for the end of a lockout. You have waited your whole life to play in the best league in the world. When the first sign of struggle comes along you flee? I don’t get that. If I had my dream job and something was getting in the way of it I would fight until there was no fight left in me. By going overseas during the lockout you are sending the message that you don’t want this as bad as the fans want the end of a lockout. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you can fight for your team while playing in another league but I have to believe that would be hard. With all the training, practicing, games and traveling I do not see it being easy to put forth your ideas to making the lockout come to an end. I’d rather you stay here and train your butt off than go overseas and leave us fans behind.
I know people are moaning and groaning about how players might be able to collect unemployment. If a player is making anywhere between 1 million and the league minimum I’m ok with it. Why? You have to think about how much everything costs. Trainers, security, housing in a safe place, nutrition specialists, and equipment. None of that comes cheap.
These are just a few solutions I could see working. Clearly there are a lot of things that need to be done and I’m just a lowly writer who is not involved in these negotiations. I want a season so I’m throwing my two cents into the mix.
Everyone making over 6 million dollars a year should take a pay cut. This includes owners, the commissioner, coaches, players, everyone. If money is an issue taking a pay cut should be one of the options on your list. If your team is not meeting it’s goals you shouldn’t be making the amount of money you do. Isn’t that how the “real” life works? You don’t meet your goals you lose your job or take a pay cut.
NO MORE BIG CONTRACTS
After this season No more crazy contracts. I don’t care how bad you want to win. A star player doesn’t always make for a star team. There is also this thing called chemistry. You can’t buy chemistry. You can try, it may work, but more than likely it will not. If a player wants to play for you they will come play for you. If a team wants you to play for them they will provide what is necessary. Note I said “what is necessary”. Not “what will keep you in your mercedes benz”. Some of the contracts this summer were completely unnecessary. You’re not going to make money by shelling out that much money. You have to give a little to get a little but you also have to make sure you don’t end up with a losing team.
NO MORE EXTENDED CONTRACTS
No player should be allowed to have contracts over 5 years. You want job security then play hard, win games. That’s the nature of the beast. That’s what it’s like in the real world. No one knows what the future will bring. You could get hurt and never be able to come back. Now you are just eating away at the teams money. It sounds cold I know. I’m sorry I don’t mean to sound cold. It’s just a harsh reality.
Sit down and figure out a money saving realignment. Get the realignment to a point where the teams are not constantly traveling. Work the schedule out so you can take the bus out to the nearest team. It worked in the past maybe It’s time to make it work again. A team in Columbus shouldn’t constantly be flying out to the west coast all the time and barely seeing anyone on the east coast. It’s silly that Columbus, Chicago and Detroit only plays Pittsburgh and Ottawa once a year. When they are close enough to play multiple times a year.
This one pains me the most to say since I would definitely be affected by the outcome. If you don’t have at least 80% of your seats sold by a certain date your game should be blacked out from the surrounding area. How else are people going to be motivated to get their butts to a game. It works in football, I think it could work in the NHL. There is no reason why there should be empty seats at playoff games. I’m looking at you Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes, and Florida Panthers. When I went to the round 1 game 3 Detroit vs Nashville at Joe Louis Arena there were many empty seats. Not just that but there were people buying tickets the day of the playoff game. You should be sold out. Especially in Hockey Town. Come on fans.
Stop raising ticket prices
Fans are not going to come to games if you keep raising ticket prices. Especially if you are doubling prices. Now the owners are going to tell me they need to pay their players. Well maybe you should have thought about that before you shelled out 8 million dollars for a player who isn’t performing at their best.
FANS NEED TO GO TO GAMES
Fans if you want to help revenue. You HAVE to go to games. I’m not saying you have to sit in the most expensive seats but you have to go to the games. Sit in the nosebleeds. Buy season tickets. At least from the stand point of the Columbus Blue Jackets through out the season you can get special ticket packs. There are green seats for $10 if you get to the game early enough to buy them. If you love the team you have to find a way to the arena. This also falls on the fans.
Fans Convert People
We all know people who don’t like hockey, don’t understand it, or don’t even know what it is. Start small take them to a local high school game. I took my friend Jim to the St Eds vs St Ignatius game and he was hooked. You have to look for opportunities to create a fire of passion in future fans. Take them to games with special offers. For example: This past February there was a tweet up at the Blue Jackets game. Afterwards you could meet and talk to James Wisniewski. If they see and talk to a player they will likely make a connection. Then you have a fan who wants to come to more games.
Bring people to free events like Front Street Fridays, Open Houses, and Bartending night.
Be welcoming to new fans. I’m not saying you have to be friends you just have to be nice. Which since I’ve moved down here I’ve seen is like pulling teeth. Listen to what new people have to say. Branch outside of your bubble. You will find people with common interests and you have thus made someone new feel comfortable in their new surrounding.
Owners , managers, coaches and players put yourself out there in the community.
Owners you want people to come to your games and buy your merch right? Well put yourself out there in the community. I mean really put yourself out there. Go to all of your kids games. Go to functions of those who you employ. Get involved in your local neighborhood. Volunteer at the local shelter. Shop at local stores and restaurants. Not just the ones located around the arena and around your house. I’m not saying sacrifice your privacy. Everyone deserves their privacy. Just put yourself out there in a way that will make people remember you. Maybe even go so far as to stand by the doors on game night every once in a while and greet fans. Welcome them into “Your House”. Show the fans how much you appreciate them. If a fan feels appreciated they will come to games and more than likely bring people along for the ride.
I know these sound a little silly but we all know every little bit helps. I believe these things could help prevent future lockouts.
VIVA LA HOCKEY!!!
JUST SAY NO TO LOCKOUTS!!