Well, the lockoutís over and with that Canada returns to its state of hockey-loving normalcy. TV looks right again, with half an hour of hockey highlights instead of a full hour of NFL and NBA coverage.
You could practically hear the sigh of relief across the country.
Of course, there are the many fans who are mad as hell at the NHL and NHLPA, with every right to be, who are still saying they are boycotting the rest of the NHL season in a variety of ways.
Now, to be perfectly clear, I have no problem with this. In fact, I support everything theyíre standing for and understand why theyíre choosing to do it. Itís the fans, after all, who make the league operate and without them, the NHL would be nothing but pond hockey.
There are also many fans who are very excited to have hockey back, and their attitude is receiving a lot of flak from fans trying to boycott.
Thatís where I started to get annoyed.
Yes, you have a right to be mad about the lockout and the selfishness that happened before, during and likely after the CBA was reached. However, others have a right to be excited to see their favourite pro sport (and team) back on the ice. It bothers me that some boycotters are trying to tell others that theyíre ďnot real fansĒ if they donít ban the NHL from their TVs, and that they should boycott the league too.
Thatís not fair for a couple of reasons.
For one, everyone is allowed to deal with the lockout as they wish. Theyíre adults (some kids) and itís their passion, their interest and their money. If they want to spend that money, or not spend it, on the NHL this year, thatís their business, not yours. Donít tell people what to do.
Two, if youíre mad (like you have a right to be) that doesnít mean those excited about the return of hockey arenít mad as well. Their love of the game often overrides the politics behind the scene, so how can they help but be excited when that game they love comes back into their lives? It doesnít mean that they approve of what happened or that theyíre taking back Gary Bettman with open arms. It also doesnít mean theyíre not a real hockey fan. It just means that their love overrides their hate (and who didnít miss hockey?).
Some boycotters are doing it realistically. Instead of denying themselves the pleasure of watching their team play (which is likely going to be very hard to commit to), theyíre setting realistic goals like not purchasing any NHL gear this season or tickets, and watching from home or pubs to support the local businesses that deserve their money instead.
So some are dealing quite rationally, others frankly arenít.
The real kicker for me was when a boycotter told me I should be ashamed of myself for considering watching NHL hockey this season. I kindly had to remind them what my job was.
Itís getting a bit ridiculous and creating a battle between boycotters and watchers thatís becoming nastier by the minute, especially on social media. Itís beginning to remind me of Republicans fighting with Democrats Ė†no oneís respecting other peopleís opinions; itís just, ďif you donít do this, then youíre that!Ē
Címon people, get a grip.
If you donít want to watch hockey this season, thatís fine, but donít nag at others who do. Itís the best sport in the world to some people, and in a world full of war and death and shootings, let them have at least that simple pleasure, Gary Bettman or no.
Lifeís too short to not love hockey.