Have You Seen My Hockey?

Jan 192005
Authors: Ryan Chapman

When the NHL originally announced the indefinite cancellation of the 2004-2005 hockey season, I assumed it was a ploy. I assumed that it was a lighthearted threat intended to get monetary negotiations with the NHL Players' Association moving forward. And as much as it pains me (or any guy for that matter) to say it, it now seems that I assumed wrong.

For those of you who don't know, this whole ordeal came about because of money. The league wants a salary cap to control teams' spending and how much teams can pay their players (much like is used in the NFL). The players, on the other hand, think this is an awful idea because they might make less money. So the league just cancelled the season until the players agree to a cap; rather harsh if you ask me.

I was annoyed when the season didn't start on time but remained hopeful. I was upset when I heard that the two sides (The NHL and the players' association) couldn't even agree on a time and place to meet but was sure that it could be resolved soon. Now, though I'm just plain pissed off, I want to watch hockey! Not to mention the serious case of withdrawal I've developed. You know, jitters, cold sweats and migraines – that old bag of chestnuts.

For a while the lack of hockey went somewhat unnoticed. Opening night slipped by last October like a drunken high school kid sneaking in after curfew; there wasn't even a mention of the crushed hopes and dreams of hockey fans everywhere.

We had distractions, ways of keeping our minds off of these horrific on-goings. We had the World Series to watch, we had college football games to attend and we had glorious Sundays filled with an all-you-can-eat buffet of professional football. Coloradans even enjoyed the opening of perhaps the most promising season of Nuggets basketball that any member of "Generation Y" can remember. With all of this, it is easy to see how a few (several hundred) missed hockey games could go unnoticed.

Now it is January, and the distractions are gone. Baseball is over, the Nuggets have become a huge disappointment and, with the end of the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, we find ourselves only three precious football games away from having no decent sports to watch on TV.

It is coming down to the line, people, and steps must be taken immediately to avert disaster. Speaking of disaster, I can't even begin to imagine the pandemonium that must be going on in Canada through all of this. Football ended there months ago, and they never really had any decent baseball or basketball. I have even heard rumors that with no hockey and basically nothing else to live for, Canada has digressed into an almost stone-age civilization. They have abandoned their cities, and most now live in the northern wilderness hunting for their food. At least, that's what I've heard.

To be perfectly honest with everyone, I think this whole situation has even more serious connotations for our society than just a lack of wholesome family programming on television. I dare say that the NHL lockout may even be a setback in the War on Terror. Because we all know that when I can't pay $200 per ticket to watch grown men fist fight while wearing ice-skates, the terrorist have won.

Ryan Chapman is a junior marketing major. His columns run on Thursdays.

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