Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 NHL Lockout - The Final Straw?

Chances are that if you're reading this or have ever read anything I've posted on this blog before, you're probably a pretty big NHL fan (either that or I've paid you a large sum of money to view my blog just to keep ratings up...not that I'd ever do that).  As a result, you're probably very...let's be kind: unhappy with the NHL and its players right now, as more than half of the 2012-13 season has been axed to date with the entire season lost being a reality in the near future.  Hell, even the U.S. Government can bang out a deal faster than the NHL.

Somehow, this doesn't really feel strange.  Lockouts have simply become a routine with the NHL and its decorated commissioner over the years.  Of course, there are conspiracy theories that NBA commissioner David Stern sent Gary Bettman over to the NHL to ruin the league and take away the NBA's main competing sport this time of year.  You may agree with that (after all, it does sound good), but I maintain that Bettman and his partners are idiots.  The NHL and its players are each trying to get paid like they're MLB, NFL or NBA players.  Guess what?  They're not.  The NHL doesn't have the revenue to pay either side like any other "major" North American sport (which is an indirect result of three lockouts!).

Anyway, I didn't write this and log into Blogger for the first time in months to ramble on about who's to blame for this most recent lockout, even though that's exactly what I've done.  I've written this to make a statement about my fanhood and loyalty, or lack thereof, to the NHL at this point.

I wasn't the NHL and Devils fan that I am now until after the last lockout (just to confirm, I am referring to 2004-05, in case you got mixed up with the other many lockouts this glorious sport has endured).  I discovered the NHL on my own.  None of my family or friends got me interested in it.  It was something that I found fascinating and exciting.  I was fortunate enough to get involved with the only team I've ever rooted for in the NHL and after a couple of years, became part of their cutting edge social media program, the Devils Generals.  Add that to a run to the Stanley Cup Finals, and you might imagine that my interest in the NHL couldn't be any better.  And you'd be right.

Every time I talk to a fellow NHL fan about this lockout, they express sadness, anger, withdrawl and many other related adjectives describing how much they miss hockey.  That's understandable, but the problem is, once the lockout ends, all of those people will be excited to start watching and attending games again, which is exactly what the league is banking on happening.  There's no other way of looking at it: NHL fans are falling right into the league's trap (not neutral zone trap, the last lockout took care of that).

The only thing fans can do to make their voice heard is to not come back.  Throughout this entire lockout, I've been doing my best to ignore the NHL and not give them any of my attention.  It's been my coping mechanism.  I've stopped blogging, stopped reading about the NHL and most importantly, I've stayed off Twitter.  The weird thing is that not only have I been able to deal with the lockout, but I've come to the point where I probably will never be as big of a fan as I was last season, which is a shame, because had there not been a lockout, the NHL probably would have gotten quite a lot of money out of me this season and beyond.  I was starting to think about getting season tickets for the first time, I probably would have ordered a new jersey (incredibly unoriginal pun definitely intended) and all of the other sources of revenue that come along with going to games.

But now I won't be doing any of that.  In fact, after going to 29 games last season and spending all of the money that goes along with going to games, I'm enjoying the extra cash this season.  Even if the lockout ends today, I don't have any desire to get back to being the fan I was last season.  Sorry, NHL, but in the grand scheme of things, you've lost a fan (not that you care about your fans, anyway).  I'll still watch Devils games on TV, but I won't lose sleep if I miss games altogether.

The only reason I'm not giving up on the NHL completely and having a fire sale on every NHL-related item I own as well as deleting my Twitter, Facebook and blog right now is because of how good the Devils organization has been to me personally.  I've met a lot of great people within the organization, fans and in the media, and I'd hate to throw all of that away.  However, my involvement and participation will not be what it was last season.  I just can't justify letting the NHL treat me like this as a fan anymore.

So here I am after promising not to ramble on and on, and I've done just that.  I guess that's why I have a blog...

Oh right, this blog.  "Down Goes Avery" may become another casualty of the 2012 NHL lockout.  As many other bloggers who must be far more talented than I have continued to blog regularly throughout the lockout, I've absolutely ignored mine.  I haven't decided what I'll do with this blog if/when the league does resume, but I'm probably done blogging on a regular basis.  To those who are upset by this, you can thank the greedy idiots who run the brilliant sport of professional hockey for that.

Finally, I'll end my post/rant/eulogy to my fanhood/eulogy to my blog by saying thank you.  Thank you for reading Down Goes Avery.  I've had an unbelievably fun time running this blog over the past few seasons.  When I launched DGA in November 2010, I had no idea that 100,000 people would have read it by January 2013 and nearly 3,000 people would be following my Twitter account.  It's truly been surreal.  Thank you for laughing with me, thank you for mocking me, thank you for reading along.  I don't know if this is the end of DGA or not yet, but if it is, thank you for reading, even if this is the first and only time you've ever been to this blog.

Isn't it sad that things have gotten to this point and that the greatest sport in the world is run by the biggest morons in the world?  I hope you consider this when the lockout ends.  I know I will.