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NHL clubs, owners apologize to fans

Jan 7, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

Mario Lemieux Getty Images

Now that the lockout’s over, teams are trying to make amends with their fans.

Two clubs — the St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins — took the lead on Monday, offering up apologies via their respective websites.

“There is nothing we can say to explain or excuse what happened over the past four months,” Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said.

Here’s more, from the Pittsburgh website:

Now that the NHL is back, we want to assure you that the Pittsburgh Penguins will do everything we can to regain your trust and show how much we value your amazing support.

The sounds of skates churning across the ice and pucks banging against the glass are returning to CONSOL Energy Center. That means a healthy Sidney Crosby is about to rejoin NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin, first-team All-Star James Neal, Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik and others as we begin our quest to bring the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh.

We want to thank you for your patience and your loyalty to the Penguins. We hope to repay it many times over.

St. Louis owner Tom Stillman gave a similar apology to Blues fans, sharing their “disappointment and frustration about the lockout and the lack of Blues hockey over the past three months.”

Stillman, who took over full ownership of the Blues in May, also made a plea for fans to return:

As you can imagine, the last thing our new ownership group wanted in our first year was a lockout and no Blues hockey. Everyone in the organization — the players, hockey management, the front office – would have preferred to start the season on time.

Moving forward, our aim is to make up for lost time and to earn your continued support. As I said last May, we are firmly committed to the Blues and to ensuring the franchise’s long-term success here in St. Louis. With the lockout behind us, we reaffirm that commitment. But we know we cannot succeed without you, and we hope you will continue to support us at this critical time.

The Blues are hoping to carry over momentum from their successful 2011-12 season. They captured their first Central Division title in 12 years and won a playoff round for the first time since 2002.

The team also finished ninth in attendance, averaging 18,809 per game.


Flames CEO King to fans: “We’re sorry”

Caps owner Leonsis: “Thanks to all of you for your patience”

Oilers COO LaForge: “I wish none of [our fans] had to go through it or watch it”

Preds GM David Polie offered up one of the more emotional statements:

“I’d like to apologize to the fans and anybody who cares about hockey and especially the Nashville Predators. This was a situation none of us really thought would happen. I think we’re all disappointed that it turned out the way it did. It’s really unfortunate, but like anything in life, whether it’s your relationship with the Predators and hockey, or your personal relationships, sometimes things go wrong and you need to apologize, and I’m apologizing. Sometimes you need forgiveness and you need to move on, and that’s what we’re going to do today.”

  1. cosmo83 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    I’ll be the first to say, sit down and be quiet!

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Yeah, at this point I’d rather not hear anything from the owners. Make up for it by doing charity work, supporting local hockey programs, offering cheap ticket packages to the disadvantaged/disabled/veterans, and helping out local businesses and the employees who lost wages or jobs altogether.

      • jtrain1966 - Jan 8, 2013 at 2:23 AM

        I could not agree more !

    • nach0mancandysandwich - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Who are the couple of morons who don’t like this? Seriously? You’re supporting the owners or the players?

      • nykingfan - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        I’m supporting the fans side..
        I think I speak for the majority here when I say we hate both the players and owners equally in this mess.
        they apologized the last time as well. How did that work out?

    • tomtravis76 - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      While it would be tough for a fan to stay away from a game they just want to watch, fans should try to not attend any of the pre-season scrimmages. They won’t count anyways, but putting a dent for a couple games with no concession or single game ticket sales is one way a fan can say Fah-Q to the owners. And it would be good for the players to see what its like to play with no cheering from the fans who care so much about the sport.

      Fans should comeback for the regular season games and cheer on their teams.

      • whatthepuck2012 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM

        Since when did they decide to have preseason games??

    • geauxshawx - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      Free Center Ice would be nice. Also, SJ Sharks also issued statement. Why no mention? All NHL media are biased against Best Coast!

  2. rpiotr01 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Just make sure you paint “Thank you fans!” in big letters on the ice. That’ll make up for it. Oh, and do a one year freeze on those outrageous ticket and concession prices before hiking them again next year. Clods.

    If they’re really sorry then the owners should fire Gary Bettman as a downpayment on future labor peace.

    I know there are a couple owners who really did not want this to happen and I know Mario is one of them. But there are just as many who don’t want to be playing right now. Like you tell any kid who screws up – don’t say you’re sorry after the fact. That’s easy. Try not to screw up in the first place.

    • jtrain1966 - Jan 8, 2013 at 2:27 AM

      I think the phrase you’re looking for is : If you are sorry, you would not have done it !

  3. schapley18 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    I’d hope teams would do a little more then just apologize. Between the players and the owners, they can do better then that.

  4. budzo83 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    We’re sorry. Now please form an orderly-single file to your right for season ticket packages.

  5. nach0mancandysandwich - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Sorry? SORRY!? Why are you sorry Slick? Because you and your buddies robbed innocent people of their time and patience? Is the free Center Ice for the rest of the year suppose to make up for this? Let me tell you something. Nothing will make up for this. Never lockout again. That may be a start. We hate you. Don’t apologize and don’t thank us.

    • desertfan - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      Free Center Ice??

      • nach0mancandysandwich - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        Ya I heard a few places that its gonna be free the rest of the year.

  6. kgg6 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    And of course the stupid NHL fans and hockey fans will take this apology and forget about everything. That’s why the NHL/NHLPA keep doing this to you! They know you guys are fools and will continue to spend your hard earned money on them.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      There is a large majority that will not simply forget and move on (IMO). This past lockout was so illogical and ignorant towards the will of the fans that plenty of fans are still hurt. I really think that although some will cave, most fans will stick to their boycotting plans. That means less attendance and significantly less merchandise sales. Fans are pissed and just thanking us for our support is patronizing to our collective intelligence. We are not fools, and owners around the league will soon see that on their bottom line.

    • kokaneebuzz - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      Kgg6…. “stupid HNL fans”…”doing this to you”…”you guys are fools”, if you aren’t an NHL fan, or one of us- then why are you bothering to pay so much attention to ProHockeyTalk? You are the one that sounds like a fool.

      • mountainmantride - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        kokaneebuzz, I agree with kgg6…the only way the NHLPA and owners get away with this fiasco is because they know that hockey fans will take the abuse and keep coming back spending money. And, why do folks like kgg6 visit PHT, speaking for myself it’s because I, we, are sports fans. Hockey included, albeit minimally. Sports fans of all stripes are likely to be curious about hockey. You have to admit, too, that this latest hockey lockout has been nothing short of comedic entertainment. Perhaps for some like kgg6 it could be they visit here for the pure comedy of the situation.

  7. nykingfan - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Please..spare your meaningless and hollow apologies. You all thanked us after the last lockout for coming back. Don’t insult us further by putting “thank you” to the fans on the ice again.
    Through all of this everyone looked out for themselves and left the fans to twist in the wind.
    If you want to do something meaningful to show us fans how bad you feel for us, go ahead but don’t insult us with your apologies.

  8. ewoods6 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    We’re sooooo sorry. Now give us your money!!

  9. habssuck - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Apologies are no where near enough. You helped rob the fans and the families relying on hockey for their paycheck and the sport! Its going to take a lot more than a simple apologie before I spend a dime on the NHL again. Wont miss a game though.

  10. getadealdonealready - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Your sorry, wow that makes everything better, THANKS!

  11. rsl22 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Pens fans should be more worried about their shaky defense than that shaky apology.

    • sportsfreak13 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      rather have a shaky defense then a 8 million dollar goalie who plays like a backup. Good luck with that. Man im so pumped we can talk hockey again.

      • miketoasty - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        That shaky goalie that won a Stanley Cup in his first 5 seasons in the NHL? I’ll take him over 95% of the other goalies in the league.

      • sportsfreak13 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        He got pulled in the KHL. Enough said.

      • edwelsh8 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        How well did Fleury play in the playoffs?

      • sportsfreak13 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        playoffs not to great. In the regular season im pretty sure he led the league in wins.Which is better then bryz could say considering mid season management was already benching him after giving him that ridicolous contract. Enjoy the goalie carousal in philly. Whens the last time you had a LEGIT #1. Not 2 or 3 backups dueling it out to see who can suck the least.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        Shaky goalie or not, the Flyers are still in the Pens heads. Despite almost all pundits naming Pittsburgh as the top Stanley Cup contender Philly seems to be their cryptonite. Can’t wait for more Giroux-Crosby drama. Let the epic 48-game race through the Atlantic division begin. Maybe this season we can beat the Rangers once.

      • sportsfreak13 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        haha they were in their heads for 1 playoff matchup. Before that the pens were in the flyers heads in 08 and 09 in the playoffs. New year, new team. Lets dance!

      • edwelsh8 - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        Fluery was second in wins to Rinne. But that was more a function of playing for a great team. His save percentage was good for 27th in the league.

      • sportsfreak13 - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:57 PM

        If you would watch the games youd know that fleury made the key saves when he had to and his teammates named him team MVP last yearduring the regular season, meanwhile flyer fans made bryz into the teams scapegoat. You will never convince me bryz is a better goalie then fleury sorry.

  12. hank10 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Awww, come on now. If Vader can accept Capt. Needa’s apology, can’t we accept the heart-felt apologies of multi-billion dollar owners who nearly canned another season just to line their pockets with more money furnished by hard working every day folks?

    Me neither.

  13. bignick1063 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    I think Mario and all the other owners can take their apologies and shove them right up their #!@&%*

    • mountainmantride - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      Completely agree! Apologies too little too late.

  14. capsfan19 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    If you really want to make your apologies felt have a league wide reduction on ticket prices for the first game of the season in every rink.

  15. islesjb - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    You can stuff your sorrys in a sack MISTER!

    ….I still don’t know what that means

  16. acieu - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    How about the NHLPA Executive Board and Fehr do a self immolation at centre iceas an apology?

    • cweez2 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      …after the game. And pay the zamboni driver double

  17. cweez2 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    How about season ticket holders get one free night in your new $28M house?

  18. ron05342 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I have an answer to anyone in hockey that wants to apologize to me.

    Go f*ck yourself.

    Now, having said that, why don’t you back up your apologies to the people you really hurt: the third party earners who suffered the most, like ushers, concession workers, ticket takers, ice crew, arena workers, etc. All those people paid dearly for your b*sh*t. Apologize with some pay to alleviate their pain, a-holes.

  19. matt8204 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Free NHL Network (for those who don’t already receive it from their carrier) and Center Ice? Anyone?

    Or how about a serious committment from both sides to learn from the mistakes and mishandling of this lockout and try their damndest to never let it happen again?

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      NHL only has ctrl over GC, not CI. I could see a discount for GC but not free. Maybe free*, but not free.

      *with 2 year subscription and $200 buyout fee.

  20. matt8204 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    And didn’t Bettman say that we’ll “make it up to the fans” when this is over? I’m assuming that means more than painting “Thank You Fans” at the blue lines of each arena…

  21. 1clumsybear - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    We are sorry for Mario and Wayne to sit on the bench watching weasel running the show for so long…

  22. somekat - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Oh, they are sorry?

    In that case, I guess the last 5 months didnt happen

  23. whatthepuck2012 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Islesjb hahahahaha

    • islesjb - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      glad someone got Seinfeld reference

  24. mrhyperpants - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Seriously! What a big bunch of c**ts. I mean really. Oh we’re sorry, because we want you to fill our arenas on hockey night. How about cutting the price of tickets in half for this short season, if your truly sorry. What you take us for …… Muppets.

  25. trollingthisbridge - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Sorry Mario and the rest of you clowns who own NHL teams, I’m probably done with you for good. I certainly won’t be wasting any of my time on the NHL this season and that means you will get none of my hard earned money. As long as you knuckleheads want to keep the midget Bettman around, then you won’t be seeing me line up for season tickets again and I will not spend a dime on anything NHL related. Based on your short horrific history with Bettman ruining things, all I can surmise is that this will happen again in seven or eight years.

  26. jcmeyer10 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Actions speak louder than words.

  27. xjokerz - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Already canceled my season tickets to the wings like 4 months ago. Sorry NHL you won’t be getting a single dollar from me this year. How long until baseball starts ? Go tigers

  28. woodstakes - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    For everyone here that wants a “real” apology; there is only ONE WAY to get that… Don’t spend your money on anything NHL. No tickets, no merchandise, no center ice package.. NOTHING! Then and ONLY then would you see a “REAL” apology. They would be begging for fans to come back. But, that isn’t going to happen so guess what we are going to get… exactly what we are getting. Now why would they do anything different… Look at what they’ve gotten from the last 2 lockouts! The fans are going to come running back so wth do they have to lose?? Nothing apparently! Best way to predict the future is look at the past and the past has shown that; they lockout, get most everything they want, fans come back, revenues go up, teams stay in locales they are in, expansion into NW US and Canada is still possible to increase those revenues in strong markets. They’ve had no reason to do anything more, so as long as we don’t hold them accountable then why would they do anything more. Until their arena’s stay empty for a period of time… say even as short as a month, they will do as little as possible to “ensure to regain your trust…”.

  29. hkemp99 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Translation: “We know that you know that we, the owners, really didn’t give a crap what you thought during the lockout, or else we wouldn’t have done it. However, now that we’ve decided to play hockey again, we desperately need your money. Please, please give us your money and don’t think too much about how we treat you. Oh, and buy some swag.”

  30. banger60 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    did the rangers say anything yet, if they did or do, stick it up your a*s you greedy money sucking ba*yards. but I might peek in on t.v. being honest!

  31. kotteintheslot - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:09 PM

  32. hawkeyplayer - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Sorry just.doesn’t do it anymore. They need to compensate us financially by reducing ticket prices and center ice, etc. heck make the home opener FREE!

  33. klownboy - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    That’s good. Big ups to NHL owners for apologizing to us, the fans. Now if they could just fire Gary Bettman…

  34. fikuserectus - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    “Now that the NHL is back, we want to assure you that the Pittsburgh Penguins will do everything we can to regain your trust and show how much we value your amazing support”.
    Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said

    Hey Ron and Mario,

    How about lowering ticket prices?!?!?!??!?!

  35. steelers88 - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Knowing the Penguins they will probably do something classy for the fans.

    • whatthepuck2012 - Jan 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      They always do, steelers88. :) I love the giveaways they have several times a year, and I completely expect them to go above and beyond this season.

  36. giantssb42champs - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Dear fans, We’re profoundly sorry…until the next time this happens.

  37. tw66ne - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    So the NHL lockout is apparently over with games to resume next week. I’ve seen a lot of comments from people on news sites today saying fans should boycott the games or buying team merchandise as a way of getting back at the players union & owners for what they did. As much as I’d like to see
    something like that happen, I fear it won’t come to have any meaningful effect. There simply aren’t enough people angry enough to really make such a boycott stick. It’s just a vicious circle. Strike/lockout happens, fans say they won’t come back, strike ends, fans come back anyway.

    It’s easy for me to say I won’t go to a game. I don’t live anywhere near an NHL city, and I’m fortunate in that we have some good college hockey (WCHA) and and good Junior hockey (USHL) available. All I can say is I won’t be watching any NHL on TV, and even for how long is no certainty.

    As far as any kind of nationwide fan action, I’d love to see something happen. If it was large enough of an event almost like a hockey fans’ ‘Arab Spring’, it would scare the pants off of both sides. Realistically though, and I would love to be proven wrong on this, I don’t expect very much to change.

  38. LoyalFan34yrsGoKings - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM


  39. db105 - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    How about giving me as well as other season ticket holders an option of a complete refund on our season ticket deposit? I was hoping they would have cancelled the season so they would have no choice but to offer us refunds.

    • whatthepuck2012 - Jan 8, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      I was offered a refund months ago from the Pens.

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