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Jim Slater, TSN poll provide evidence of fan rage

Oct 11, 2012, 10:00 PM EDT

Jim Slater Getty Images

To little surprise, fans are expressing their lockout-related rage on various forums with opening night officially beyond saving.

One interesting venue is TSN’s main NHL page.

The network put up a simple poll asking if fans will return to NHL hockey once the work stoppage runs its course. While the majority said “Yes,” a stunning 44.4 percent of the 30,807 voters said they wouldn’t.

As people like Aaron Portzline point out, it’s unlikely that such a large segment of the potential NHL audience will truly be lost. Still, it gives Bill Daly & Co. good reason to worry about how much momentum could be lost.

Another interesting and more anecdotal bit of fan rage comes from Paul Friesen’s account of Jim Slater‘s experiences with some upset people at a bar.

Slater admits he understands how fans are feeling.

“They’re mad at both sides. If I was a fan, I would be, too,” Slater said.

It looks like there’s a lot of angry fans, at that.

  1. dumbasdirt - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    The fans should show their outrage and say enough is enough. Every 5 years this happens and no one really gives a damn about the fans. So now the fans should not give a damn about the NHL if any more games are cancelled.

  2. billsin20xx - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Great thoughts, but trust me as soon as hockey comes back the fans will come back just like they did last time.
    But I do think the previous article on here about corporations dropping their tickets could very well happen. This gives them a great excuse to drop their seats and boxes.
    Sounds good to say I won’t come back, but wait to when/if the puck drops, we will all be there!
    Dang, I’m down to watching KHL hockey. Looking forward to AHL games at least.

  3. stakex - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Of course the fans will be back. If you like hockey, your going to watch hockey when its back on… its that simple. Americans don’t have conviction on things like this, no matter how much they might say they do.

    • east96st - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM

      stakex – That’s not 100% true. A passionate fan will come back no matter what. But a guy who liked the sport, but wasn’t deeply committed? He may be gone forever. I used to go to two or three MLB games a year. After the strike, I haven’t gone to one nor have I watched baseball on TV. Hey, baseball lost a clown who went to three games a year – big deal! Well, since that strike, I got married and had three kids. They have never gone to a MLB baseball game nor have they ever played the sport. Because I don’t believe in forcing all my choices onto my kids, I took them to a couple of minor league games, just to see if they had any interest, and they were bored. They have been to NFL, NHL, and MLS games and much prefer those sports. So, the NHL doesn’t just lose a few causal fans, they lose their kids, too. These kind of these things have a bigger effect than people want to acknowledge. In my lifetime, the NFL overtook the MLB as America’s number one sport. Now, baseball isn’t in danger of going broke, obviously, but losing the number one spot for a sport that once symbolized America is a pretty significant fall. When you have a sport that has the financial and viewership issues that the NHL does, losing even the casual fans can end up being very damaging in the long term.

    • sunking1 - Oct 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Stakex-get a grip. Some Canadians seem to have this idea that nobody cares for hockey as much as they do. I am calling BS on this.
      Are there Canadians who think hockey is the #1 sport and are devout followers? Yes
      Are there Americans who feel the same way? Absolutely
      Do all Americans feel that way about hockey? No
      Do all Canadians feel that way about hockey? No

      There are hardcore die-hard fans everywhere. Don’t think that they only exist in Canada.

  4. captainstabbins - Oct 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    I was a die hard fan and refuse to support the NHL in any way. I feel like I am in a abusive relationship and I keep getting smacked and then forgiving the other person. Millionaires fighting Billionaires…I used to be a season ticket holder and buy merchandise all the time but I am officially done. Keep fighting guys on the ever shrinking pool of money.

  5. manchestermiracle - Oct 12, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    If the truly “passionate fans” of hockey want to see the league move out of the dysfunctional ditch they keep steering themselves into, then a little tough love is required. If you cannot bite the bullet and punish the league for refusing to get its house in order (by withholding your favors for as long as you can possibly stand it) then you deserve to have your heart broken every few years. If the majority of fans rush back into arenas the moment the lockout ends, you are no better than the addict that keeps falling off the wagon.

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