Skip to content

Three big reasons the fans might not come back

Nov 1, 2012, 11:02 AM EDT

Kings fans Getty Images

Back in August, before the current NHL lockout had officially begun, commissioner Gary Bettman famously (or maybe it was infamously) said that the league recovered from the loss of the 2004-05 season because it has the “world’s greatest fans.”

But if the 2012-13 season is canceled, will the fans return in droves again? Here are three big reasons they might not:

Fool me twice, shame on me. One lost season was bad enough. Add another less than a decade later and fans can’t be expected to be so forgiving. On top of that, this lockout is different. In 2004, most fans believed the NHL’s claim that the business model was unsustainable and that a hard salary cap was required to ensure the league’s stability for years to come. Now they see an NHL, having got what it wanted eight years ago, coming back for more.

It’s the economy, stupid. In 2005, things were a lot better than they are today. Whether the global economy is still technically in recession or not, the situation remains undeniably tenuous. There’s a reason the U.S. presidential election is largely about creating jobs and managing the debt. A lost NHL season would give individuals and corporations a great excuse to cut expenses by walking away from their season-ticket commitments and/or sponsorships.

What do they do for an encore? The NHL emerged from the last lockout having approved a series of rule changes that sped up the game and increased its entertainment value. It wasn’t quite the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa homerun record chase that helped baseball recover from the cancelation of the 1994 World Series (thanks, steroids!), but it still helped hockey fans put the lost season behind them.

On the bright side, there’s still time to save the season. Get back to playing hockey soon and the damage should be manageable.

Latest Posts
  1. Hitchcock’s advice to Mueller on making Blues: just play

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Mathias Seger, Peter Mueller AP

    The recently signed forward hopes to stick with “powerhouse” team.

  2. PHT Morning Skate: When ugly can be a good thing

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    victorgreen

    Tuesday’s collection of links.

  3. B’s Lucic admits his wrist isn’t fully healed

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three Getty Images

    “It’s turned the corner for the better as far as rehab has gone.”

  4. Video: Teravainen’s beautiful pass leaves Blackhawks fans beaming

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    It’s tremendous even if it was in a prospects game.

  5. Red Wings’ tryout invite Robinson is fully conscious after being hospitalized

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT

    redwingslogo

    The team says he has “full movement” following a boarding hit.

  6. Habs’ Price expects to be 100 percent to start 2014-15

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    Some optimism about how his knee is feeling.

  7. No deal yet for Handzus, who hopes to continue NHL career

    Sep 15, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two Getty Images

    He’s reportedly talking to several teams.

  8. With camp looming, DeKeyser’s anxious to reach deal with Detroit

    Sep 15, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Danny DeKeyser, Matt Bartkowski AP

    “I still think something will get done before camp.”

  9. Report: Jets invite veteran goalie Taylor to camp

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:52 PM EDT

    DannyTaylor

    Former Kings, Flames netminder lands in an interesting spot.

  10. Detroit bringing Rome to camp on PTO

    Sep 15, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT

    AaronRomeDallas Getty Images

    Veteran guy, but not the righty Mike Babcock was looking for…

  11. Will the NHL publicize divers?

    Sep 15, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT

    Tomas Fleischmann, Kevan Miller Tomas Fleischmann, Kevan Miller

    Because it hasn’t yet decided if it will.

  12. Report: NHL, Epix network to partner on Winter Classic reality series

    Sep 15, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

    Gary Bettman Gary Bettman

    Also includes a similar series dedicated to the Sharks-Kings outdoor game.

  13. Report: Wild co-owner contemplating stake in Isles

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

    Philip Falcone Philip Falcone

    That’s businessman and former Harvard hockey player, Phil Falcone.

  14. Kuemper’s ask? One-way, for $850K

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    Darcy Kuemper AP

    The Wild want the flexibility of a two-way deal, however.

  15. Habs to play without captain for just second time in franchise history

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

    Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, PK Subban, Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, PK Subban,

    P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty will all serve as alternates.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Bennett (1236)
  2. P. Rinne (1233)
  3. D. Alfredsson (1228)
  4. D. Kuemper (1211)
  5. J. Drouin (1171)