NHL goes back into action tonight!
Among my co-workers there s mainly a sense of relief that they may finally go back to watching hockey and watching as the Leafs fail to make the playoffs again. I am among those who could not care less. Actually, previously I could not care less. I now wish them ill. Why? Because I live in Toronto.
The latest strike/lockout on the whole was millionaires arguing with billionaires to see who gets more money out of the poor fans. In the Leafs' case, however, we have the most profitable team in Hockey, and one of the most profitable in all sports, despite the fact that they stink and regularly fail to make it to the playoffs. No wait: it's because they regularly fail to make the playoffs. The arena is always sold out, and has been for decades, no matter how bad the team is. Any other team in the league would be playing to an empty arena, but not the Leafs. Ownership has cottoned on to this, and realized years ago that they could hire a bunch of mediocre players at a cut rate, and make more money than if they actually made an effort to put a viable team on the ice. Case in point: Wayne Gretzky wanted to end his career playing for the Leafs. He offered to play for them at less than half the pay he was asking from any other club, about three million. The GM ran to the owner, Steve Stavros, all excited that he could get the Greatest Player Ever, who was still a top player even then, for a song. Stavros asked: "How many tickets can Gretzky sell?" The answer was none, because the arena would be sold out whether the team had Gretzky or not. So Gretzky was passed over.
They have poured even more contempt on their fans since then. Now roughly seventy per cent of the seats in the ACC are sold to corporations, who hand them out on promotions or perks. Fans are left to fight for the remaining few seats and are charged a premium. For example, for me to take Elder and Younger out to a game, (leaving Puff and Frodo at home) would cost somewhere in the region of five hundred dollars. That is money I don't have. But the Leafs think it is worth that much for me or someone like me to go and see them get blown away year in, year out. And the players think they deserve their pay to go out and suck, night in, night out, when a line made out of snow white and any five of the seven dwarves would be an improvement.
They will not get one cent of my money. I will not even watch their games on tv, in case I inadvertently bump their ratings, and increase their advertising revenues. I hope there are more fans out there who think as I do, and the NHL millionaires and billionaires club starts to feel the hurt. They've earned it.