NHL Lockout Ends With Uphill Struggle Ahead

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of negative energy around the National Hockey League over the past number of months with the lockout but finally, it looks like the two sides have come together on an agreement that will start the season within two weeks.

This is the best news possible for all of those NHL players who have been playing overseas and the fans of the NHL who finally get their hockey in the cold winter months. I’m still fearful though of how many fans will return at least right away to the game.

It is great that the two sides finally got past their differences even if it took until the beginning of January but are fans going to be receptive to a game where the owners wanted more revenue from the players but still were giving up 12 or 13-year contracts worth over $90 million? I don’t think this is going to be an easy fix and the NHL is going to have to either reduce some ticket prices to start with to get fans back or come up with some public relations plan to ease the pain.

It appears that hockey has fallen behind the other three major professional sports by leaps and bounds and while that will be a hard climb, hockey needs to realize that it is a niche sport for fans who really love the game. The TV money will never be there nor will sold-out arenas for every game.

We now wait to see how long the schedule will be and how long the season will stretch into June, but the NHL has returned.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports or like his Facebook page.