As the calendar turns to December and cold weather begins to grip North America, hockey fans are still stuck in the dark as the lockout between the National Hockey League and the players continues. It is painful to see how badly these two sides don’t really feel like sitting down and talking for more than one or two days at a time before deciding that they have had enough and want to not talk to each other anymore. It’s like two children who can’t agree on what game to play so one takes their ball and goes home.
Gary Bettman continues day after day to find a new way for fans to never come back to hockey ever again. The NHL has already lost the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, which was becoming a must-see event and would have been even bigger this year with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs squaring off at Michigan Stadium in front of over 100,000 fans. Is it that hard to realize that you may have lost at least half of those fans with their continued bickering?
Hockey had become the No. 4 sport already for children in the United States and was being challenged by soccer already and now will easily get overtaken by that. Bettman needs to tell the owners that they can’t afford to lose another whole season if they ever want to see the stands full again in the arenas around Canada and the United States. The clock is ticking and it is almost midnight for the NHL.
Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports or like his Facebook page.