Wednesday, January 12, 2005

HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA CALLED OFF

Hockey NIght

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the famous last-ditch, drop-dead-day settlement of the 1994-95 lockout. Unfortunately, it's 2005, and Armaggeddon continues. Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. is saying he doesn't expect a season. So I'm not expecting a season now. It looks pretty much dead and over, although I don't think I'm ready to officially throw in the towel and give up for another couple of weeks. But I'm not holding out much hope at this point.

And now, another big national tragedy. The Globe reported on its front page today that the CBC called off Hockey Day in Canada.

Apparently there's a lot of anger within the CBC itself over this stupid, wrongheaded decision. Hockey Day was supposed to be a national day celebrating the grassroots of hockey, with Ron and Don and the rest reporting from these rinks throughout Canada, talking about the impact our Official Sport has on our local communities.

They would also show an NHL tripleheader featuring Canada's NHL teams. But because of the NHL lockout, there is no NHL tripleheader. So the people upstairs decided to simply say sayonara to Hockey Day in Canada. It's outrageous because the fact is that grassroots hockey is as strong as ever, despite the problems with ice time and the cost of equipment and so on. People out there are still playing the game darnit! You don't need to have the National Hockey League around in order to celebrate the sport of hockey in our communities. Surely the CBC could have done SOMETHING to celebrate grassroots hockey, whether it was showing classic games all day or something like that. Then you could come back with Ron and Don in the rinks across Canada, telling stories of local hockey heroes and giving fans across the country an update on the lockout situation. I just think it's wrong for the CBC to declare no Hockey Day in Canada. It implies that we need the NHL around in order to celebrate grassroots hockey. And we don't.

And why should we bother with Hockey Day in Canada if it ever comes back? It looks to me like Hockey Day in Canada is just another cynical attempt to use the grassroots to promote the National Hockey League's tripleheaders. It's just a big ratings stunt for the NHL. It's not really about celebrating the grassroots of hockey at all.

Maybe they think Hockey Day in Canada will turn into a big black eye for the NHL with lots of reports of these souvenir vendors going out of business and the like. The Washington Times reported that Christmas sales of NHL gear were down 85% from the previous Christmas, and that's just the United States. I know that it's a pretty bad situation here, too. Who wants an NHL jersey when there's no hockey? You'd be laughed at for wearing it!

Anyway, boo hoo. Our Official Sport gets another black eye. Why people in this country insist on allowing their hearts to be eaten up by the NHL beats me. This sport is PATHETIC. The people who run hockey have no idea what they're doing, and the players are greedy as heck.

Now, here's an idea for the CBC. Since Hockey Day in Canada is a no go, let's have Movie Day in Canada! A national celebration of our OTHER national pastime- the movies! We could have Ron MacLean go to small-town movie theatres and interview people on movie sets and the like, and show Hollywood movies all day on CBC.

Come to think about it they might as well forget it.

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