Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Gary Bettman announced an NHL lockout today with the unanimous endorsement of the owners.

Eugene Melnyk of the Ottawa Senators actually tipped off the Fan 590's Howard Berger to what went down in the meeting before the official announcement was made: Melnyk called it a "sad day for hockey". Bob Goodenow had his own statement as well blasting the NHL and calling it a sad day for hockey.

So all of Canadian sports are today in an uproar. Six major-league professional sports franchises in this country are effectively shut down, and with it goes much of the live programming on TSN, Sportsnet, Leafs TV, and the NHL Network. (Not affected as much are the Score (my former network), with a diet of baseball and basketball; the Fan 590, which does not carry any NHL games at all; and needless to say, Raptors NBA TV! But the sportscasts across Canada are ruined. There won't be any hockey hilites for McKenny, or Kathryn Humphreys or any of those people).

With the coming death of the Montreal Expos within weeks, Canada will be left with a pro sports diet consisting of the crummy Toronto Blue Jays, the crummy Toronto Raptors, the crummy CFL, and crummy NLL pro lacrosse. Which, by the way, is OK for me because I'm a big fan of these crummy sports leagues. (As for the crummy CART circuit, well, they're all done for the season in Canada, so forget them.)

But Saturday nights will be ruined for the rest of Canada, and for me, too. I'll probably actually have to go out on Saturday nights and spend money at the singles bars, chasing girls. I know there's the Original Stars Hockey League planning to start up with 4-on-4 hockey, but I'm convinced that league is garbage. I heard on TV they're going to charge $25 bucks a game and I'm convinced that's a complete ripoff. I also have my doubts about that shaky enterprise the WHA. I just don't think it'll see the light of day.

I should make a list: lockout alternatives for hockey fans. I'm sure there's quite a few. Saturday nights are usually good nights for college football and big-time boxing so I'm probably going to fill my time between now and January following those sports. I just can't believe these goofballs will be out any longer than that. These people think the whole world revolves around them and are blind to reality. Hey, you guys ain't all THAT, eh?

UPDATE- Another big lockout loser: PRO-LINE. Apparently half their business was NHL betting, and with the NHL gone they're right down the tubes financially, too. I guess they could offer the Original Stars Hockey League but I doubt that would cut it with fans.

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