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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

NHL Thriving Despite Lockout

Wild on Sports
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NHL Thriving Despite Lockout
By Wild on Sports Analyst Josh Tarr

Remember when the NHL announced that it would not reach a CBA agreement in time to start the season? What about the following dozen or so times they didn’t reach their deadlines? Do you remember when Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr and bunch of other league executives locked themselves in a conference room all night until they came to terms on a new CBA, then announced the NHL would have a 48 game season? What about everybody saying they are done supporting the NHL and the fraudulent care of its fans and it’s overpricing on tickets and apparel, do you remember that?

If you didn’t remember one of, or any of the prior, it’s probably because of the storylines that followed Opening Night on January 19th. And frankly, I don’t blame you for forgetting.

Say what you will about Gary Bettman. I for one think he would make a better Commissioner in the NBA where it’s accepted to favor certain teams. But what he did on the night of January 5th and into the morning of the 6th epitomizes the fact that the fans are what mold the league together. He, along with league and player executives locked themselves into a conference room with pizza and soda, just like many had suggested they should, and worked non-stop to work out a deal.

By the time Gary took to the press and announced the NHL and the leagues PA had come to an agreement, many people we’re still sleeping. And when they woke up to the video of his press conference, they saw a very tired Bettman. For people who love the game as much as I do and knew that they would watch the first game once hockey came back, that tired, close-eyed look is exactly what I had wanted to see from the commissioner for a long time.

Since that day, the NHL has thrived and is now getting considerable spotlight in the sporting world. Some are even placing the NHL right next to the NBA, which is a substantial compliment for the ‘last place league’ of the four major American sports. Next year, expect the same level of competition, dramatics and dedication, for the league AND it’s incredible fans.

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