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The hockey fan has been duped. Take myself for example. I own four NHL jerseys, ranging in price from $75 (my first one) to $250 (my last one). I do not like to wear them anymore. I do not want to support the NHL or the player whose name and number is on the back. Why? I ask myself, "How can I support somebody or something that doesn't support me?"
Blake West Colorado Springs, Colo.
My father sat 10 or 15 rows behind home plate at Yankee Stadium when Maris parked No. 61, spent money he didn't have to catch a game in the '78 World Series, and held a Yankees night-game ticket package through the dismal late-'80s — a true fan. Since the player strike of '95, which followed 47 years of tireless fandom, he's more or less stopped watching baseball. I never completely understood why. I'm only 30, and sadly I can mark Feb. 16, 2005, as the day I figured it out.
What we want fixed is the GAME. The clutching and grabbing. The oversized goalie gear. Make the blue line wider, make the nets bigger, and fix the GAME. When I sit down in my $60 lower-bowl seat, I couldn't care less about the owner's finances or how much Joe Hockey player is getting paid.
I just feel so mixed-up inside. I feel like the love of my life has gripped at my heart and ripped it from my chest, only to throw it on the ground for me to never see it again. RIP, National Hockey League, 1917-2005.
Thanks for the memories,
"Cost containment" is only the first step in bringing back the NHL, Mr. Bettman. Try working on bringing back passion and excitement to a great game.
West Bridgewater, Mass.
As an NHL fan for two-plus decades, let me tell you that the sound you hear is my Florida Panthers season-ticket paperwork hitting the trash can. How players with careers lasting four to seven years on average can throw away a season's worth of pay is beyond me. The players shouldn't fire Bob Goodenow, they should banish him from North America.
Boca Raton, Fla.
Now that the NHL season is officially over, I'd like to say I'm sad — not sad because there won't be any hockey to watch, but sad that my 7-year-old son, who lives and breathes hockey at the moment, won't have the opportunity to sit and watch it with his dad, like I had the chance with my dad.
I'd like to send a message to NHL owners and players on behalf of all the fans, and I could really use your help in spreading the word. I'd like to propose that whenever the deals are worked out and play resumes, for the first home game for every team and the first night play resumes, nobody show up and nobody tune in. Maybe that will remind the NHL and players where their paychecks really come from and the real reason the league exists.
Stamin P. Rodfong
I had a thought. Do you think if Bettman said, "$39 million cap. Take it or leave it. Take it and I will resign," would the players accept? For the love of the game, I think Bettman and Goodenow should both resign. I know I would in their positions. I coach in two youth leagues right now and will continue to coach until the day I die. I'm still a fan of hockey even though I'm no longer a fan of the NHL.
It's amazing how a bunch of athletes, the majority of whom are uneducated, can be so demanding as to how much money they make. When I watch games like basketball and football I see nothing but games of greed and individuality. Unfortunately, now I see hockey in the same light. With that being said, so long hockey, may you rest in hell!
It is apparent that since the players have given back 24 percent of their salaries and now have agreed to a salary cap, they are willing to give. What more proof can there be that the NHL has only wanted to break the union from the start? Too bad guys like Jeremy Roenick want the spotlight so bad that they are willing to undermine everything the union has worked for.
The fans will return to the NHL, because the league is still composed of the rare breed of individuals: thoughtful, charismatic, giving people. Unfortunately, we have witnessed the business side of the game, and that business has been injected with personal grudges from both sides, which have slowed progress since the Cup was last lifted. But I still think that the players of the league see the fans as more than commodities, and that when the game does finally return to its highest level, the players will do everything in their power to warm the life-blood of this sport.
I'm sorry, but my love affair with the NHL is over. I hope they will one day win me back, that there is hockey with skillful players being able to do skillful things, where a game can end at 4-4, with the winner decided by a shootout, and it wouldn't be uncommon. I hope that I will be able to let my kid (if I ever have one) skip out on his homework to watch the Rangers hoist the Cup. But I don't think it's gonna happen.
I have decided that I will no longer support the NHL. I will no longer buy NHL merchandise. No longer will I wait in a line for an autograph for my daughters. I have been a season-ticket holder here in San Jose for nine years. No more. The owners and players are proving that they don't care about me. And you will find out that I'm not alone.
San Jose, Calif.
If they would have played the playoffs this year I would have been in, for life. Now I just don't care. I catch a Gophers' game on local TV when I go home for a break and that's all the hockey I get to watch on TV? What a joke. They ruined the only pro sport I had left. Bunch of jokers.
What I mean about the NHL ripping off the fans is that we had to pay our season-ticket money back in July and the season wasn't canceled until today. All 30 teams must have made a nice amount of money off the interest. What do we get? I got my first refund, which was credited back to my credit card, but now I have to wait for the credit card to process the refund and send me a check. The NHL does not care about the fans; if they did they could have saved the season. Bettman needs to step down as commissioner and the NHL needs to start over with a new regime. Will I go back to sitting in my seat in the Garden next year? Yes, but only if the regular players are back. If the NHL thinks it is going to use replacement players, I will do whatever it takes to stop it as a fan. I live and breathe hockey, and I think it's a disgrace what Bettman and the owners and the players have done to the fans.
Thanks for the time,
I, for one, will be back. When there's an NHL season again, I'll buy my Blackhawks tickets, I'll make the crappy drive on I-290 to get to the United Center to watch a team that I know won't win the Cup as long as Dollar Bill owns 'em. I'll pay the parking fees and drink the expensive beer and probably buy an overpriced souvenir, because that's what you do. I'm mad at the players and the owners, but we can't overlook the fact that the game is bigger than both of them. It's cliché, but it's true.
Only one way the NHL gets me back — if Goodenow and Bettman are no longer associated with it. I'm too disgusted to write any more. Please let me know if you come up with any plans to let the fans' voices be heard.
John Buccigross' e-mail address — for questions, comments or cross-checks — is email@example.com.