Iím not sure about the rest of you hockey fans, but I greeted the announcement of the NHLís return with a shrug of my shoulders and a resounding ďmeh.Ē
I just donít care.
Thatís pretty big for me, because, having been born and raised in Montreal, Iím a diehard Habs fan who grew playoff beards and kept up weird rituals when my team was winning. I always relished the start of hockey season and the intense playoff matches for Lord Stanleyís cup.
But after what?... 113 days of lockout and standoffs from both sides, Iím not exactly counting the minutes until the puck drops this time.
The thing that irks me most is both sides were arguing over money that, when you come right down to it, is sitting in my (and every hockey fanís) pockets. For the past 113 days, Iíve had cash to spend on hockey tickets, food and beer at the game, souvenirs, etc. But nobody would take my cash, because they were too busy negotiating how much of it everybody was going to get. I feel sorry for the vendorsÖ those tireless folk who work for low wages supplying refreshments, hockey paraphernalia and the like. I bet they didnít have a Merry Christmas, while the millionaires played chicken with our national pastime. I bet the folks working in all the stores, bars and restaurants near hockey stadiums felt it, too. Those are the people I feel for the most.
During the hiatus, Iíve spent more time playing with my kids, as well as catching up on TV shows I recorded over the past six months, discovering new video games and looking at some home projects I want to complete.
Sure, at first it was difficult not to have some hockey to watch, but it didnít take long to just consider it a lost season and move on.
Oh, but now theyíre back, and the first game is only days away andÖ I still donít care. I probably wonít watch the first few games. Neither will about 20,000 so-called diehard hockey fans that formed a Facebook page on Dec. 21. According to the site, the group said it would forgo watching the NHL after its return, one day for each day after Dec. 21 they remained on lockout. So, by my accounting, thatís 10 days.
That sentiment has been rampant among my friends, too, but I guess it remains to be seen if all those annoyed, outraged, frustrated and fuming fans can remain angryÖ or if the siren lure of Hockey Night in Canada is still too much.
Iíve still got a couple seasons worth of The Big Bang Theory on my PVR, so Iím good for nowÖ well, unless the Canadiens start to do well. I guess old habits, like hockey fans, die hard after all.