Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Fans: Rejoice . . And Get A Grip

Well, it may not be a Christmas miracle, but the NHL has, indeed, put an end to its most recent, and entirely unnecessary, lockout!

NHL fans everywhere – rejoice!  You may begin dusting off your jerseys, signing up for your Center Ice or Game Center Live subscriptions, and generally resuming the winter lifestyle you’ve been dying to enjoy.

One word of caution, though: for those of you who expect the NHL to come crawling back to you on its knees, offering you all sorts of outrageous discounts in order to win your love back, I advise you to get real.

I’ve already read it on the internet, on Facebook, and on Twitter: people demanding things such as free subscriptions to Center Ice and Gamecenter; people hoping for reduced ticket, concessions, and merchandise prices all season long; basically, people just hoping that they will get free or insanely reduced stuff to compensate for their months of “suffering.”

Ha.  Ha ha.   Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Let me get this straight: you honestly believe that the NHL, the same league that just toyed around with losing an entire season in order to make an already profitable system MORE profitable, is going to slash prices and/or give you free stuff because it actually cares that you were forced to go elsewhere to satisfy your hockey fix for a few months?

Did you even follow the lockout?  Friends, that’s just not going to happen.

That’s not to say the NHL shouldn’t do SOMETHING to send fans the right message; hopefully, the PR folks that work for the NHL and the individual teams are hard at work, brainstorming ways to tell the fans, “We know we screwed up,” without ever actually coming out and admitting they know they screwed up.  I’d love to see some creative pricing for certain home Sabres games – why not copy the AHL and sell a family pack, where $100 gets you four 300-level seats and a $15-20 voucher for the concession stands? – and I’d even settle for being able to log into the store and being given a one-time gift of $25 in store credit.   I still don’t think even those reasonable suggestions will ever become reality, but at least I’m trying to be reasonable.  Fans demanding free video packages, free tickets, and ticket prices slashed across the board for the entire season?  Those are the kinds of expectations that are just going to get more people angry, and this time it will not be the NHL’s fault.

I don’t know how the NHL plans on appeasing its fan base; frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if their approach is as simple as, “Hey – you asked for hockey, and here it is!  Take it or leave it.”   I would hope the NHL isn’t so arrogant, but then again, I’ve seen nothing to indicate the sport is willing to reduce its profits just to keep some fans from grumbling out loud.  The argument always gets made, “Without fans, there would be no sports, so we’re entitled to something,” but that’s just faulty logic right there.  We’re entitled to nothing, because even if some of us walk away, there will always be enough fans to fill our spots.  If you’re really looking for the NHL to lose money just to lure you back to the sport, you’re not long for the sport, are you?   True fans of hockey are glad the sports is back, and sure, we’re probably still a little angry and wary of what the future may hold.  We may be more tight with out money when it comes to the NHL for a little while, and that’s okay.  Don’t spend anything extra when it comes to the sport if you feel that way; just do what it takes to enjoy the game, and stop looking for a handout that just isn’t coming.

What do you think the NHL will do in order to win back a little love?  Leave a response, or hit me up @theaveragedick on Twitter!



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