Proud players thrilled that hockey is back

Question of the Day

What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

View results

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Flyers All-Star Claude Giroux received the wakeup call he waited to hear for 113 days.

Locked out for months, the NHL was indeed ready to drop the puck.

“It’s a beautiful day for Hockey,” he posted Sunday on Twitter.

Call the overseas players and tell them to come on home to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and other states where the NHL only existed in the form of messy labor updates. The NHL and the players’ association agreed on a tentative pact to end the lockout and save what is left of a fractured schedule.

Let the training camps begin.

“I’m ready to play,” Flyers veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. “We’re just waiting for the season to get started. It’s been a long four months.”

But, finally, fans can stop thinking about board rooms and talking heads dressed in suits. Rather, it’s time to get ready for Sid the Kid. It’s time for the Los Angeles Kings to go defend the Stanley Cup. It’s time to watch your team play, oh, about four times per week.

Sure, the Winter Classic was wiped out. The All-Star game went bust.

But at 48 or 50 games, it’s still hockey at the highest level.

One of the questions that arises now, of course, and after any sort of stoppage for that matter, is will the fans come back? This is the third labor dispute in Commissioner Gary Bettman’s tenure, and though the fans returned in the past, the jury is out this time.

NHL fan Steve Chase started the grass roots “Just Drop It” campaign that encouraged fans to skip one NHL game for every game canceled after Dec. 21st. He asked fans to pledge they would not spend a penny or a minute of their time on tickets, TV, merchandise, all things NHL.

Nearly 21,000 fans had clicked the “like” button on the group’s Facebook page by Sunday afternoon. And Chase, who lives in Los Angeles, wrote on the site he would stay true to his commitment.

“AS IT STANDS RIGHT NOW: Games canceled from Dec 21 to Jan 14th average out to 10 per team,” he wrote. “They took 10 from us, we’ll take 10 from them. No tickets, no TV, no merchandise.”

Chase said there was growing sentiment among his friends to skip the entire season. He said the league and players didn’t think enough about the part-time employees and local businesses who needed the sport to help survive the winter months.

“Look at all the bars around the rinks and all the shops that sold jerseys. They’re all getting killed,” he said by phone. “We kept promoting, go to those bars and buy pizza. Keep them going. When hockey comes back, you’re going to want somewhere to go.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • Nathan Walker waits to take the ice during the Capitals' development camp at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington on Monday, July 9, 2012. (Ryan M.L. Young/The Washington Times)

    Nathan Walker’s NHL dreams send him around the world

  • Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon, third from left, smiles as he warms up with his teammates who were were wearing t-shirts in support of him for the All Star game before an interleague baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Anthony Rendon not an All-Star, but he’s been Nats’ MVP

  • Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter speaks during a media availability in the dugout before an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    LOVERRO: Suck-up Buck Showalter needs history lesson

  • Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final

  • Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson speaks during a media availability after an NFL football training camp practice at Redskins Park, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again

  • Celebrities In The News
  • This image from video released by Funny Or Die shows President Obama, left, with actor-comedian Zach Galifianakis during an appearance on "Between Two Ferns," the digital short with a laser focus on reaching people aged 18 to 34. The president urged young people to sign up for the new health care plan through an appearance posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014, on the comic website Funny or Die, bypassing TV talk show titans like Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel for an online audience. (AP Photo/Funny Or Die)

    Obama’s ‘Ferns’ interview gets Emmy nod

  • ** FILE ** In this Nov. 12, 2013, file photo, actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    Alec Baldwin in talks to play Rob Ford-like mayor in new NBC drama

  • Dinesh D'Souza's "America: Imagine the World Without Her" got promising reviews from two major Hollywood publications. It opens nationwide Wednesday.

    D’Souza on Costco debacle: ‘It was really bizarre’