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An Open Letter to the NHL and NHLPA

I’ll keep this short.  So here we are once again.  The NHL season is supposed to be underway but alas it is not.  You know, the last couple of weeks fans like me have been told how we can stop this lockout.  I’ve seen people and even hockey media suggest I unfollow the NHL/NHLPA on social media sites, stop buying tickets/merchandise or even stop being a hockey fan altogether.  I’m not going to do any of those things.  I am not naive enough to think that I could have any effect on ending this lockout.  I am going to do something though, not from pressure but simply based on what I feel. 

You know the old saying “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”  I was willing to let the last lockout slide because I was told it was necessary to fix the systemic problems with the league.  I bought that and boy was I dead wrong.  How else would we be back here once again?  I live in Toronto where like so many people I live and breathe the Maple Leafs.  My father is a Leafs fan and my grandfather was too.  I watch every game on TV that I am capable of viewing and through winning and losing (mostly losing), I support them.  I try and get out to a couple games a year at the ACC but usually I cannot afford tickets.  Remember in the last lockout when you claimed we would have lower ticket prices under a new agreement?  Again, you won’t fool me twice. 

Look, I’m always going to be a Leafs fan until the day I die.  I will continue to watch every Leafs game I can whether they return in 2012, 2013 or 2014.  But here’s what I will not do.  I will not be watching other NHL games.  I won’t be watching Calgary vs. Edmonton or Detroit vs. St Louis.  I’m done with that.  Instead I’ll be watching the NFL, MLB, NBA and heck even the AHL.  This is not a threat or a form of protest.  This is simply the reality of taking your fans for granted.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your role is in this.  Whether you are Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr, Sidney Crosby or Shawn Thornton you have reduced a former NHL fan into just a Leafs fan.  Stop posturing and negotiate like civilized people who have influence over the lives of so many who are hurt not only emotionally but financially but this lockout.  You know them right?  They are  the broadcasters, writers, bars, mascots and concession workers.  I believe there are a lot of people who share my sentiment and that’s not good for anyone.  Time to grow up and do what is right.  Drop the puck.