As of today, the game we love, is not going to happen. We will sit in front of our empty TV screens, staring into hockey games long past.
I was going to write about Gary Bettman. There was an article about him and I was going to use it as a base for an article. I decided to change the article a bit. This column is a bit about Mr. Bettman, but it is mostly about my pet peeve, hockey teams in the southern states.
Mr. Bettman came from the NBA in 1993, to become the first commissioner of the NHL. He was one of many who pushed for the NHL expansion in the southern U.S. markets.
This is where I start to freeze up with cold sweat, its the same when I start to shovel the snow off the driveway. To me, a hockey team should not be in a city where they don’t get: A. cold weather B. snow from the heavens C. where they don’t know what long-johns are, no it is not a danish type pastry!
The southern states like Florida, San Jose, Phoenix and such have other sports like basketball, all year football and other warm weather outdoor sports. We don’t. Sometimes us northern places only get two or three summer days, not enough for any sports!
The northern U.S. and Canada usually doesn’t have a long and warm summer season for outdoor sports. We rely on winter sports to thrill us, engage us and make us feel like one. Hockey was started and a league was made in cities which housed their own heaven made snow and ice.
It also seems to me that hockey is not as big in the south as it is up north? This is our Saturday night ritual, to watch the game on TV. Then on Sunday to go outside in the backyard and become your favorite player, scoring and saving pucks like in the league.
When I was much younger and my dad had season tickets, the league was much smaller. It was hockey at its best. It seemed to me that players back then played for the love of the game. As the league got bigger, that ‘family’ feeling got lost somewhere.
Now, if you look around, it is the mighty dollar bill that is the biggest scorer. It doesn’t seem to matter if snow is a forgien concept and ice is only used in a drink. The respect I had for the game is long gone, went with the dodo bird. How can anyone respect a league where people strike who already have millions? Oh, I still watch the game, I still feel that thrill when a game is high energy and close in scoring. But yet, something inside of me is missing.
The original six as a league is gone, that era is over. But lets hope that one day, people will play the game because they love it, not for the money. Lets also hope that hockey will be played in locations where you can practice outside on real heaven made ice!