It’s about 100 days late, but the NHL season is finally here. After a lengthy lockout that delayed the start of the season from October until this weekend, the Red Wings are back. After playing their first two games on the road, they’ll play their first home game at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, the lockout wiped out the 2013 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, as well as the Hockeytown Winter Festival in Detroit. It also hit businesses near the arena—and sports bars everywhere—really hard. Now that the season is underway, they hope to welcome back the crowds they’re accustomed to seeing before, during and after Red Wings games.
But will it be the same as before? Will there be a noticeable decrease in the amount of people attending games and going out to watch them at their favorite restaurant or watering hole? It’s hard to say.
The die-hard fans who would never miss a game no matter what will be back, almost as if nothing happened, to watch the game they love and support their team. But there likely will be people who refuse to devote any time, attention or money to the NHL, even if it’s a short-lived protest. It always happens in sports labor disputes, because fans see rich athletes battling rich owners over more money, while the “little guys”—fans, arena workers, team employees and small business owners—are hurt the most.
Where do you stand? Are you willing to forgive and forget and attend games as you always have, or are you planning to “boycott” games to express your anger at both sides? Or are you more in the middle, to the point that you will still follow the team and watch their games, but not buy any tickets, gear, etc.? Let us know in the comments section below.