With the most recent announcement from the National Hockey League (NHL) coming yesterday that all games through November 1st are cancelled and a total of 135 regular-season games lost in the 2012-13 season since the first announcement, the negative impact continues to grow for the sport especially when it comes to those who factor in the least when it comes to the lockout – the fans.
It is widely known that hockey is the most popular in Canada. It is their official national winter sport and where the first organized game was played back in March 1875 (in Montreal). So there’s no doubt that teams taking one of the biggest hits during this lockout are those in the Canadian market – Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, and Ottawa Senators. Fans of these teams will suffer greatly not only because hockey is so popular for them but also because there isn’t much more for them to enjoy in the way of sports entertainment especially during this time of year.
And even though American fans have a few choices to fall back on, the biggest being football and the NFL, small-market teams such as the Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, and Phoenix Coyotes will no doubt take a big hit economically that may take some time to bounce back from especially when some of the cancelled games may have been scheduled with bigger-market teams (such as the Pittsburgh Penguins) that draw in larger crowds and more revenue.
Ultimately the longer this lockout continues, the more fans will become frustrated and inevitably find alternative forms of entertainment to replace it. The NHL really isn’t in a position to lose fans regardless of the size of a team’s fan base so it would be in the league’s best interest to end this lockout as soon as possible.
Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.