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Firing Gary Bettman; concerns in Chicago; playing the 2013 Winter Classic (THE VENT)

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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.)

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Wally, 27, of Redondo Beach really can’t take this anymore:

I can't take this anymore. I am a recent purchaser of Kings season tickets. I grew up in southern California, and moved to Arizona in '99 (when I was 14). I was on the fence about moving back home for a few months, and when the Kings made the finals, that pushed me over the edge. I had saved up a lot of money to travel to Europe over the summer to visit my sister, and go to London for the Olympics. However, my rationale was "Europe is always going to be there, but the kings haven't been this far in the playoffs since 1993, and this group has a chance to do something special."

I went to 8 of the Kings' playoff games (commuting from Phoenix, taking time off work, etc) starting with Game 4 vs. St. Louis; Games 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the WCF. It was at that point that I decided to buy season tickets, because I got discounted finals tickets, to which I took my father for an early father's day gift, rather than sell them for the approximately $1500 apiece they were worth. I have spent $2600 on season tickets, $2000 on tickets for the 8 playoff games, including games 4, 5, and 6 of the finals, and travel expenses totaling approximately $1500.

Now to be fair, I shouldn't say that the Kings are the main reason I wanted to move back there, but they were the deciding factor. I moved back on Sept. 15 (a bad sign perhaps?), but all throughout the summer I had talked about how I was getting season tickets and that I was starting my next phase of my life. I had broken up with my girlfriend (the day the hockey playoffs started), left most of my friends and family behind, and now I am seriously questioning the move. I am at the point where I am hoping a season gets cancelled and I can get a refund. I have invested a lot of money in the NHL, and honestly I wouldn't have changed anything because I got to see the team I grew up rooting for win the Stanley Cup.

However, I'm over this season. If I get a refund, I will take that trip to Europe, because if there is a shortened NHL season, I am stuck with the tickets to these games which I do not want. It's my stance. I am going to one game this season. The first game to see them unveil the banner at Staples Center, then I will leave before the game starts. I am going to repeatedly ask the kings to release me from my contract, because this is complete horseshit. Neither side is bargaining in good faith anymore, and it's not fair to the true fans like ALL OF US!!!!

He added: "Having said that, if there IS a season, and I AM stuck with these seats, if anyone wants to go with me, I'm always up for hockey games with passionate fans."

Mat Gilbert wants to see Gary Bettman fired, and here’s why:

I am so tired of this whole lockout situation. I know owners and people on the ownership side are busy saying how great Gary is, how he's a great businessman, etc. I just don't buy it.

At some point, if you don't tell your bosses that what they're doing is going to damage the business, you're a bad employee. I'm a website developer, if my boss told me to put obnoxious ads and a splash entrance page on our website, I'd tell them no and explain why it' going to be detrimental to our business.

6.1 Office of Commissioner, Election and Term of Office The League shall employ a Commissioner selected by the Board of Governors. The Commissioner shall serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the League and is charged with protecting the integrity of the game of professional hockey and preserving public confidence in the League.

I think it's hard to argue that the actions of Gary Bettman have done anything but the opposite of "protect the integrity of the game" and "preserve public confidence in the league . Fans are pissed, sponsors are leaving. Molson/Coors is so pissed off they are demanding compensation for all their losses in revenue.

The only thing I'm confidant in now is that there will be no season, and that nothing will be learned from this debacle after the owners find a way to screw the players again. GMs will continue to circumvent whatever CBA is reached to their advantage as long as the Board of Governors favorite lap dog is still doing their bidding.

Hockey needs a Commissioner who will stand up for the game, and get tough on the owners. Fire Gary Bettman.

Tony Scharf of Chicago overheard a conversation that made him think about what’ll happen when the NHL returns:

I live in the NW suburbs of Chicago and I am one of the many fans who started paying attention during and after the Cup in 2010.  Since then I have become an adoring fan!  I have gone to 2 or 3 games a year, bought merchandise and I am the rare American that makes a point to watch every home game I can't attend on TV.  During the playoffs, my wife and I spent every night watching playoff games right up until the cup final.  We have fallen in love with hockey!

We are not unique.  There are a lot like us in the Chicago area.  And I know that despite the rejection and anger my wife and I will be back after the lockout.

But will everyone?

Last night on the train ride home I overheard a conversation between passengers also getting off at my stop. These are two other hockey fans I know who also came on after the Blackhawks cup run.  They were talking about driving to Rockford to watch the AHL Ice Hogs games they have been filling the void with (Rockford is as close as Chicago to our suburb).

They extolled $27 seats (great seats, btw) and $7 parking.  $2 concessions and great entertainment.  With the lockout in place, for that money you get to see Bolig and Shaw and Leddy and all some NHL quality talent along with the great prospects that are the Hawks future.  Its  a great deal!

And then he said it.  He said what the NHL really has to fear:

"As far as I am concerned, they can stay locked out.  I hope the NHL doesn't come back.  Even if it does, I am sticking with AHL Games".

If that is a common attitude, and from where I sit it sure seems to be, then the NHL is in some serious trouble.

How can they not see this?

Finally, if you really, really miss the 2013 Winter Classic, here’s a sim of the game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. Final score has to be a misprint, right?

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