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One-for-one NHL boycott strategy; this guy’s kidney is a metaphor (THE VENT)

Harrison Mooney
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VENT-LARGE

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.

Ryan from Toronto proposes a one-for-one approach to protest:

I think I fall into the category of what you might call a "hardcore fan." I started skating at 3, playing hockey at 5 and I'm still going strong in my beer league at age 37. I have been a Toronto Maple Leafs fan since I was a kid (does it get more hardcore (stupid) than that?) and have diligently bought the merch, gone to games, ordered Leafs TV and spread all kinds of word-of-mouth marketing about this great game.

Now, if I had a buddy who was devoted to his lover and in return he was shown zero respect, do you know what I would tell him? I would look him straight in the eyes and say that she doesn't deserve him, that he can do better, and that he should get his jacket because we're going to Jilly's.

I have decided that the NHL does not deserve me. They have shown me no respect despite the devotion shown to them for my entire life.

My promise is this: for every day that this strike exists, I will boycott the same amount of games once hockey resumes. It looks like the season is just about over for me.

Meanwhile, Andy T's kidney has apparently been acting as a metaphor for the NHL since 2004. My guess is he'd prefer if it just kept working. How bizarre:

My story as it pertains to these last two NHL lockouts is fairly unique. My relationship with hockey is now much more love/hate than I would care for it to be. Around the time the last lockout began, I was 19 years old, and suddenly out of the blue, I developed kidney disease and my life changed forever. I always joked that it was the lack of NHL hockey that struck me down so fiercely with illness. Lending some support to this idea is the fact that I was in the hospital recovering from a kidney transplant operation when the last lockout was settled. As a Carolina Hurricanes fan, I often joked that part of my reward for a tough draw when it came to my health was the team winning the cup in 2006, the first season after my transplant.

In that same year, 2006, it was actually because of hockey that I met the woman that would become my future wife (Nicole H from a previous rant). In what is surely someday to become one of the greatest love stories ever told (or not), we met in a hockey chat room. NHL hockey was the first and greatest thing we had in common, and it ultimately gave me the best thing that ever happened to me. We even had a hockey themed wedding with everything from hockey stick bouquet, to hockey wedding cakes, to personalized shirts with our last names used as guest books to sign, to a color scheme that borrowed colors from both of our favorite teams, the Canes and the Caps.

So from that point on, things have been pretty rosy. We finally got married in November of 2011. We took an abbreviated honeymoon trip to New York, which mostly revolved around us attending a Capitals game on Long Island, and a pilgrimage to the NHL store in NYC. In March of 2012, we took our full honeymoon, to Canada, this time based around following the Canes to Toronto and Ottawa, and also catching a Habs game at the end of the trip.

Then came this summer. As the doom and gloom of the lockout approached, my health began to take a turn for the worse again. I spent the vast majority of the summer in and out of the hospital, and shortly before this lockout began, my transplanted kidney failed. So here I have found myself again, without hockey during a very difficult time in my life. Three days a week I have dialysis, as I did eight years ago, which isn't the most pleasant of experiences. Those are three days that I dread. And I really wish that I could have hockey back so that I could have three to four nights a week that I could look forward to. Three or four nights that just help me forget the bad things for a while. And I know from reading many of the vents that I'm not the only one that wishes they had their escape from whatever troubles them in life in the game of hockey.

I still love hockey, and I will come back to the NHL. But some days I do wonder why when the game I love so much hasn't been there for me during some of the times that I've needed and wanted it most. It is somewhat telling that when I see friends and loved ones that I seemingly hear more questions about how I'm handling the NHL lockout rather than how I'm handling my wait for the next transplant and my health issues. I'm hopelessly addicted to the NHL, and I hope it comes back soon. At this point, with no living donor found yet this time, and a long wait on the transplant list if I don't find one, I'm hoping that my timeline finally becomes unlinked with NHL lockouts and that hockey begins sooner than I find a kidney. And if it does, it will go a long way to healing my relationship with the NHL, and helping me heal as my journey to another kidney continues.

And finally, Eric O'Connell has two points to make. First, he's the fan the league wants most and they're losing him. Second, at this point, making concessions wouldn't be viewed as weakness. It would be viewed as strength of character, since it would show you care for the fans:

I may be different from a lot of other fans. I wasn't brought up loving hockey from the time I was born. I've only ever played street hockey with my friends and I can barely skate. But my brother loves this game. During the 07 finals he was watching the Ducks play so I sat down to watch with him. I was impressed but it still didn't make a big impression on me. The next year however, I went to a Rangers vs. Bruins game. I was blown away. The power of the hits, the athleticism of the goalies, the sounds of the puck on sticks, the passion of the players. It was mesmerizing. It instantly became my favorite sport to watch in person. Even though the Rangers lost 3-2 in a shootout, I was hooked.

I've watched almost all of their games in the seasons since then. In the off seasons I devour books and articles about hockey history and strategy in order to gain more knowledge. You see, I'm a college student now and I one day hope to be either a sports broadcaster or writer.

Bottom line: I want to be involved in the sports industry.

This summer I was offered an internship to blog about the Rangers. I was ecstatic. A team that had come off its best season in almost twenty years and I would be writing to a dedicated and growing fan base. I knew the labor strike was coming but I figured "No way they blow up all the momentum they've gained and lockout again."

Well, here we are. I'm sick of it. I thought I'd be able to hone my skill which would help me down the road in a very competitive field, while still watching the Rangers this season. Instead I'm stuck until the lockout ends.

And you know what's so stupid? I'm exactly the fan the league wants. I wasn't raised on this game, I became seduced. I've bought a bunch of jerseys, I've watched every Winter Classic/Heritage Classic, all the playoffs. I even have tried to somewhat successful results to get my friends to get into the sport. Now I tell them to not bother. The league and players don't care about us. I'm not going to spend my hard hard earned dollars on their merchandise and I won't defend it to my friends anymore The league and players want the money. That's it.

I guess I'll stick to the NFL and MLB. Football was smart enough to realize locking out the players and missing games was a no-can-do. Wouldn't it be great if Roger Goodell and David Stern called Bettman and told him he would be a (bigger) moron for locking out again? For all his faults, Goodell doesn't come across as an owners' "Yes Man". He looks like a molder of consensus. Bettman is a yes man.

I also have one other point grinding my gears: If the owners or the players gave another small to moderate concession I wouldn't say "Wow what a weakling, they caved." I'd stand and shout "THANK YOU FOR SHOWING YOU CARE ABOUT THE GAME AND THE FANS IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK!! "

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