What’s the proper way to say sorry to the fans?

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The lockout is over, training camps are open, but there is a debate among hockey fans on what the league and it’s teams should do for the fans to make up for them missing half a season of their beloved sport.

Gary Bettman has said he’s sorry, but what was he supposed to say? And does anyone care? The Pittsburgh Penguins are offering 50% off all merchandise and free concession items, while the Tampa Bay Lightning offered 200 season-ticket packages for their 24 home games for $200 on a first come, first served basis.

For their part the Canucks have opened up Rogers Arena this week for their abbreviated training camp. They will also hold a “Jersey’s off our backs” night for Saturday’s season opener against Anaheim. The team says there will be other giveaways and random prizes given out during the season.

But that’s not good enough for some fans, who feel the team should be a little more generous if they hope to maintain their loyalty. The reality is however, at least in Canada, they don’t have to. There is a waiting list for season tickets that spans years, so the Canucks have that in their back pocket, and know that soon hockey fans will forget. Probably after the first big save by Cory Schneider, or the first tic-tac-toe play by the twins. Canucks fever will be back, it’s already back so if you’re expecting that half price jersey, don’t hold your breath because if you don’t buy a full priced one, ten other people will.

In Winnipeg the MTS centre was sold out for the Jets first practice of the year. The buzz in Edmonton isn’t “what can you do for me”, but is instead one of getting to watch their exciting young team possibly contend for a playoff spot. In Toronto the rink will be packed as they hope for the arrival of a goaltender from the west coast that could help them get to the playoffs in a post Brian Burke era.

Talk of boycotts of this and boycotts of that are noble and understandable stances, and everyone is entitled to their own way of dealing with the return of hockey, but they likely won’t last long with the true hockey fan.

In the end, I would have been happy with the league making their Centre Ice package free for the duration of the season. A quick look at the Shaw Cable website shows the package is mentioned, but not available to order at the moment. Could it be a discount or free offering is in the works? We’ll have to wait and see, but there would be no better way to get fans interested again than to give them maximum exposure to what promises to be some intense hockey once we get going.

What individual teams do is obviously going to depend on the market they are in. Teams in the U.S. will no doubt have to make more of an effort and Canadian fans will  point south and say, “What about us?” In a way it’s a shame that the game’s most passionate fans will likely get the fewest perks when it comes to post-lockout apologies, but let’s face it…Canadian fans already have the biggest prize they could hope for; their game is back.

Caught in the CBA Crossfire

 

As I read and keep up on the “progress” of the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement talks, I can’t help but become upset, and at times, angry. Why? It’s because we have two sides that are “duking out” some sort of agreement that involves millions and millions of dollars. Figures many of the average NHL hockey fan cannot even begin to conjure up in his/her mind. Figures that many of us fans can only see if we ever won a lottery. It’s not because I am bitter about how much money the owners, the league and the players have in their pockets, or how they live their lifestyles. I’m upset and angry because, the two sides (NHL and NHLPA) aren’t the only ones that are affected by a possible lockout.

My concerns go to the people who have jobs in the arenas, the office of various NHL franchises and those that have ties with the NHL and/or franchises. People like you and I that work for a living to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. What happens to them during all this? As I dropped my 15 year old daughter off to work this morning, I got thinking about all those that will possibly be affected. My daughter works special events for various event companies and also for the catering company I own. It is very similar to many that work at Rogers Arena and many of the other arenas across the league, they make a living working the games and special events that happen.

CBA Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA hold up more than revenue sharing percentage quibbles.

The NHL has 41 regular season games a year, a handful of pre-season games and possibly some playoff games for the arena staff to work. An average salary in Vancouver would be around $14-16 an hour and about a six to eight hour  shift for such events. Let’s ballpark that to $105 a game per employee. Over a the course of the regular season of 41 games that’s $4,305 in wages per employee. Multiply that by about 150 people it becomes a cumulative approximate total of $645,750 of wages for the people to help run the NHL events of the arena.  The NHL league minimum is $525,000. The difference between one NHL player earning the league minimum and 150 NHL arena employees is $120,750. It is not a whole lot of difference is it? The $120,750 is also divided by 149 more people than what the low end of what a players makes in the NHL.

While the NHLPA may be losing wages throughout this whole ordeal, many of the players have hazard pay, strike pay, whatever you want to call it. What about the arena workers? Many are forced to seek other means employment in a day and age where having a job is harder to come by each and every passing day, no matter what education and work experience one may have. There are only so many jobs to go around.

So when the owners and the players decide to put the fate of the average people in their hands to bargain about billions and millions of dollars, “Joe” at the concession stand is going to go and look for a new job to cover the 41 games he will not be getting paid if there is an NHL lockout to cover the $4,305 he will shorted on his salary for the year. NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman makes a base salary of $5,529,490. I get it, he has a lot of responsibility, more so than a guy that runs a concession stand at your local NHL arena when it comes to the league, but “Joe” has responsibilities as well. “Joe” has bills to pay, put a roof over “Joe’s” head and mouths to feed. I know that $4,305 is just a suit in Gary Bettman’s closet, but that’s 1.5-2.0 months of wages to “Joe”.

NHL Commission Gary Bettman wants a deal done by September 15 or the league will lockout the players…and fans.

As a season ticket holder for the Vancouver Canucks, I’ve gotten to know some of the arena workers over the years, a few of them I consider friends. Although, the ones I do know are very capable of finding other employment in the hospitality and service industry, it bugs to me to think that they have to even do such a thing. It also bothers me to know that fans who have paid their hard-earned money to purchase ticket packages for the Vancouver Canucks and other teams year in and year out are again held hostage to negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA. That’s three times in Gary Bettman’s tenure as NHL Commissioner. That’s three times too many in this fan’s opinion.

As many fans all around the league hope for a better outcome of these negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA, many of those could possibly be affected by an impending lockout are now forced to find different avenues to make a living.

So my message to the league and the players’ union is: Keep quibbling over percentages of millions of dollars each side gets, but get it done soon. You are not the only ones affected by this dark cloud looming over the NHL’s upcoming season. Some of us (fans) are getting tired of the constant threat of a lockout or a strike. So while you drive your luxury cars to your meetings, some of us are just wanting to make sure we have money to put gas in our cars or to buy a transit pass to make our way to work…that is, if you allow us.
Justine Galo

twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

Canucks Creed: A Lil Faith, Please

Seeing all the negativity on twitter, on Facebook and all over the internet about how the Vancouver Canucks are done as dinner. It may be a truth, but it is not yet so. Until it’s final that the Vancouver Canucks are no longer part of the playoff race, I choose to remain faithful and believe in them.  I decided to make my own hockey prayer of the Apostles’ Creed and call it the Canucks Creed.

The Canucks last supper? Maybe, but keep faith. Photo Credit: Ray Galang

Canucks Creed

I believe in hockey gods,Lord Stanley almighty,
Creator of the cherished cup,and in Captain Hank,
our only voice, our leader
who was conceived with a twin spirit, Danielborn of the Swedish viking,
suffered under Dustin Brown’s hit|
was knocked down; winded and weary;
he descended to the ice;
in the same period he rose again from the hit;
he then ascended into a 3:20 minute shift,
I believe Cory or Luongo, neither will falter,
although it is 0-3 is how the Kings have led
I believe in the hockey spirit,the shot of Sami Salo,
the determination of Kelser,the speed of Jannik Hansen,
the resurrection of my team,
and the cup dream everlasting.

Amen

The boys are yet to be eliminated. It could be tonight, it could be next week, or maybe it could be never this season.  I refuse to concede defeat when the last battle has not yet to take place. I ask you all to join me in ‘prayer’ and keep the faith. It may be a last ditch effort, but it is our duty as Canucks fans to believe, keep faith, and hope for the dream to stay alive.

GO CANUCKS GO!

 

Justine Galo

twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

Define Tough? Answer: Henrik Sedin

I think I am not going to write about the 0-3 series lead the Los Angeles Kings have over the Vancouver Canucks so far in the first round of the NHL playoffs. In fact, I’m sure there are 500 other blogs about it from all over the blog-es-sphere. So I won’t rehash it. I do however want share a small experience and why I think the toughest guy in the NHL isn’t a prototypical NHL tough guy. He doesn’t fight, he doesn’t get in too many people’s faces and he sure isn’t what you call an ‘intimidating’ figure, but yes, I do sure feel that Henrik Sedin is one tough S.O.B.

This was all inspired after the Dustin Brown hit on Henrik early in the game. A tweeter put out there:

“Sedin currently day to day with a strained labia”

How ‘creative’ this person was! No one has ever heard the Sedins referred to as women before! Wow, I hate to break it to you, but I think that joke actually started in Vancouver in 1999 during Henrik and Daniel’s first training camp. You’re a little late to the party.

Another insinuation that Henrik Sedin is a wimp because he doesn’t ‘fight back’ or have any ‘testicular fortitude’.  Frankly I’m sick of it hearing how much of a ‘p*ssy’ Henrik is and the lack of respect he doesn’t get because in their eyes he’s not ‘tough’. I hate to break to you out of shape sports writers and ‘avid’ fans but he is damn tough. Why? Because he’s lasted over 560 games straight in the NHL without missing one.

It takes a tough man to take the abuse Henrik takes on the ice and do his job night in and night out. It takes a tough man to train rigorously in the off-season to make sure he takes the precautions to have a long career and a strong season. Wow, he’s smart also.  Most of all it takes strong man to go out there to do all this for over 560 games as many ignorant fans all around the NHL, call him a ‘p*ssy’, a ‘faggot’ and the one he and brother seem to always hear is that he is a woman.  My reaction tweet to that was:

@Aviewfromabroad: Hank takes his hits, keeps his mouth shut and keeps on playing. Leading by example. If that makes him a girl, he’s all woman. #Canucks

Another point that I need to address is what makes ‘demeaning’ Henrik or any other man on earth to refer to them as women, is a very misogynistic attitude towards the fairer sex and there is no real need for such insults in this day and age. As a woman, I certainly don’t appreciate having men referred to as women. Are you saying we are not equal enough in your eyes? Go back to the 1950’s please, we don’t need you in this modern world. Alright, back to Henrik.

There are different definitions of toughness in hockey. One is that of guys that can duke it out on the ice. Others have a mental toughness to keep their nerves calms in high pressure situations. One is to endure abuse day in and day out on the ice (and off) and continue to do your job, (well might I add) to the best of your abilities without games interrupted, season after season. The last one is what Henrik Sedin embodies and anyone with an ounce of intelligence of hockey will see what level toughness it takes to be the Ironman of the NHL, over 560 games tough.

Hey but according to that tweet and its writer that inspired all this, what do I know? I’m only a broad.

 

Justine Galo

Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad