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Calling for NHL fan boycotts; asking Canucks owners for lockout explanation (The Vent)

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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THE VENT is a forum for rants, raves, pleas and laments from hockey fans across the world about the NHL lockout. It runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If you've got a take on the lockout and need to let it out, email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com, Subject: The Vent.)

This lockout rant is brought to you by "Public Waste':

As a hockey fan, with hockey being the only sport I care about, dealing with a second lockout in eight years has been really difficult. I can't fathom losing another full season, and unfortunately we've already lost the first few months.

The thing that angers me the most is how the sides talk about how much they want a deal, like if they want it enough a solution will fall from the sky into their laps. A lockout shouldn't happen, and it definitely shouldn't be a bargaining chip. Hockey is the under dog in the sports world and the frustration with that is that a lockout, lost season or games are costing fans and reversing momentum and growth. I would love for our sport to be on par with football and baseball, or even close to it.

People bash on Bettman and I'm not a fan of him because of this lockout, but he did a lot to expand and grow the league and generate those record profits; but now that's all being destroyed because he can't stand up to his bosses and say, 'Look were ALL going to lose money and this is hurting the entire league to lose these games and fans. Sure you might gain more from HRR but you're going to lose it long term because you've pissed off and lost thousands of fans.'

I personally believe it's the few richest owners particularly Jeremy Jacobs that are convincing the other owners to hold strong. They will see larger amounts of profits for what the NHL is trying to accomplish, where as smaller market teams would much rather be playing hockey right now because they're losing what few fans they do have. Now that months of games have been canceled and the winter classic they decide to start getting serious.

I don't want to hear the NHL crying poor about how much they lost because they're choosing to be greedy, they could of been scheduling meetings every week or day to get this resolved, but instead they chose to act like little children who's parents have to push them to apologize for something. Waiting for the other side to crack while the lockout goes into effect, not scheduling meetings while the first month of games are canceled, waiting while games through November are canceled, still not talking and the winter classic is gone. They need to make a deal so we can have hockey back!

I can also say I will be boycotting the league for the remainder of the season weather it starts in December or not. Don't buy NHL merchandise, don't go to games or don't buy anything at the games, don't buy the NHL sports network packages. I will be watching streaming online knowing they aren't getting a dime from me!

The fans need to make the owners remember that WE gave them their 3.3 billion dollars and they need to consider those people when they make their greedy decisions.

Fans stay angry!

We believe the preferred phrasing is, "Stay angry, my fans …"

From reader 'Slaskey', another call for a boycott:

Let me start by saying that I love hockey.  I live for the Detroit Red Wings.  But enough is enough.  We need to show both the players and the owners that they are nothing without us, the fans.

Where do they think those billions are coming from?!?!  Two work stoppages and one cancelled season during the last 3 contract negotiations?!?  And they have the nerve to say they want a fair agreement for players, owners AND fans?!  That's BS.

So fans when they come back, I am asking you not to.  Even if its only for a month.  It will hit them where they live.  We need to take a stand and show them that the game is really about the fans.  Because without us it will fold.  Please spread the word.  It's time for us to lockout the NHL.

Well, again, good luck with that. We don't think a coordinated boycott will work. But it's the thought that counts.

Here's ... uh ... something:

If this isn't evidence of lockout-related insanity, really what is?

Here is an epic Open Letter to the Acquilini Family, owners of the Vancouver Canucks, by Shane Kramps. He sees Canucks fans and he wants them painted black:

Dear Mr. Aquilini's,

The lockout of the hockey players by the NHL owners continues today. The antics worthy of acting accolades continue as both sides feign disgust and horror at the other sides position. Watching Mr. Bettman get increasingly angry for the hungry cameras was entertaining for a few press conferences, but now, after a strike and a few lockouts, I'm bored of his theatrics.

Mr. Bettman is an excellent lightning rod who takes the heat and allows you to continue operating in relative anonymity. Like any good body guard I would gladly take the yearly $8MM salary that you help pay him to stand in front of the masses and take every verbal bullet fired my way just to protect you.

Now though, side stepping Mr. Bettman's worthy performances, I'd like to know what your position is on this lockout?

What are you doing to bring it to an end?

Or, what is the magic figure that will lead you to use your influence amongst the other owners to end this lockout?

Now, you'll probably want to answer, to demonstrate the transparency of your ownership group, but there's that $250K fine that the league will impose for any owner commenting publicly. Now, it has been mentioned on numerous occasions how the Canucks want to emulate the success of the Detroit Red Wings, and you'll recall that recently Mr. Devellano of the Red Wings made some comments. His remarks pave the way for you to step forward and explain your position to your true local customers. Sure $250k is a lot of money, but for a person of your means, and a corporation of the Canucks stature, that kind of money is about the same as it would be for me to buy four tickets to a Canucks game.  It would sting, but it's possible.

Mr. Devellano borrowed a metaphor from a lawyer, Mr. Batterman, who I assume borrowed the same metaphor from Tex Schramm, whereby the owners are the ranchers and the players are the cattle and the owners own the ranch, and can always get more cattle.

I wondered where the fan figured into this logic. My friend thinks must be the forgotten ranch hands, the workers who allow the ranch to operate. But I disagree since after feeding, herding and cleaning the cattle very few workers want to spend their off hours and limited funds watching, or having anything to do with the cattle.

It is more likely that we fans are the insects, the fleas and mosquitoes that blindly follow the cattle around from ranch to ranch.

Increasingly, in every major sport, the fan is not considered. We are the constant that leagues, therefore Owners, have no concerns whatsoever about the fan returning to each sport after a lockout. We are the cash registers that never turn off.  We line up and clamor for the opportunity to be separated from our cash.

What disturbs me about this logic is that the fans are not even considered as lowly as a sheep. In a crass metaphor I am not even considered as a farm animal!

That is maybe why I keep coming back to the question of where you stand in all of this?

I once read a favorable interview where you suggested that the Canucks were a public trust and you, and your family, were basically the custodians of the Canucks. As custodians we the fans reward you with hedonic opulence, but in return what do you offer us?

Please tell us, prove to us that you're working the back channels of the NHL ownership group to bring a quick solution to this disagreement.

After the last lockout the NHL offered the fan a lottery for Sidney Crosby and improvements to the game as an incentive to return. We took it hook, line and sinker.

What do we have to look forward to this time around? Regular season games where the players are dead tired and constantly injured as a result of playing a schedule of three games in four nights over four months just so that everyone can make more money?

If this is the plan then I hope you hear this hard truth. Cancel the season now.

There are too many teams already — we don't need a further watered down product.

Maybe you saw the Dark Knight Rises this summer and recall the Anne Hathaway's Catwoman's line, delivered with a foreboding Oscar chill, "There's a storm coming…"?

I hear the anger in the voices of my fellow fleas. It is different than during your other lockouts. There's a weary tone that tells me we're getting tired of being taken for granted. We're tired, or more emphatically, we're sick of being used as pawns in an elitist game that uses our money as the stakes.

In my dreams, I wish I had the means and influence to create complete boycotts of games. Imagine, a Canucks game, played in front of only real life insects? As delicious as that scenario is I'm not naïve enough to believe it could ever happen. Our passion for our teams, for our cities is simply too overwhelming. And, we fans need our sporting escapes from daily lives. I'm convinced the braintrust at Prosauker Rose banks on this fact in designing the negotiating strategies and tactics for CBA negotiations.

However, I can't foresee such a massive group of people, us fans, remaining silent forever.  The fleas, the insects, the sporting fans are the storm that is brewing. Sure we're not all speaking the same language now, but this lockout is providing two key ingredients in galvanizing our purpose: Time and Frustration. Imagine if all us fans started to really mobilize and vent our collective frustrations. Imagine if the fans developed our own Collective Bargaining Agreement — with the sports teams, and the Owners, in each of our cities.

For instance, we are able to coordinate wardrobes for many regular season games and every playoff game. What if during a set number of games each year we all coordinate and wear only black. No team jerseys, no Canuck Ball caps, no insulting pink jerseys on women, no Canucks toques on kids.  A group of zealots even hold down Mascot Finn and render his colors neutral black.

This trend would spread across the sporting world. Stadiums full of fans wearing only funeral black.

 

The Black Sea — where fans dress to protest to the insatiable cupidity of their teams Owners.

Wikipedia would note that it all started as a protest to the rapacious owners of the Vancouver Canucks.

From clever television angles it would look like the game was actually being played for fleas. For shocking shots like that the NHL might actually be the headline story on ESPN.

The Green-men would trade in their Canuck colors to morph into dark shadows. They'd relinquish their prime seats to those more underprivileged so they could sit near the owner's box.  They'd then dial up the volume of their distraction techniques on you, and your guests, replete with cardboard cutouts of Scrooge McDuck.

Should you do anything but smile and accept this good natured roasting you will surely make some part of ESPN's SportCenter; If not Deadspin.

If us industrious fans take to Twitter and crowdsource this concept I'm sure we could come up with hundreds of Gandhi inspired non-violent and masterfully inventive protests to voice our extreme frustration and anger over this ridiculous dispute.

Please come forward and tell us: How much is enough?

I can't count the number of revenue streams the Canucks have.  In order for the radio station to pay the Canucks obscene rights fees we fans are subject to more vacuous advertising than biased content. If I watch games on TV I am now subject to annoying digitized endzone ads so the rights holder can pay your fees. Even Canadian Tire sells sexy women's night shirts emblazoned with the Canucks Logo — Canadian tire sells very little other clothing as their name might indicate.

I ask again; How much is enough?

My belief is that you as much as you might like to you all can't forever hide behind the short coattails of the Count.

Come out and be accountable to all of us constituents who are each contributing to paving your streets with proverbial gold.

Thank you for taking the time to consider these questions. We all look forward to your responses, and to the return of the NHL.

Respectfully,

Mosquito Captain

Shane Kramps

*drops mic*

Finally, feel reader Peter Winsky's pain:

We now live in a world where when one types KHL into Google Chrome's search bar it autofills 'Khloe Kardashian'. This is the world that the lockout has created. I don't care who is to play anymore, I just don't want to have to deal with this kind of moral morass anymore. Please, make this horror stop.

This is indeed a frightening world.

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