The lockout is over and hockey is coming back

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Miikka Kiprusoff, from prepares for a shot (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

Miikka Kiprusoff, from prepares for a shot. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

After one hundred and nineteen days, the NHL lockout is over and hockey is coming back. <Queue the music and trumpets>

The Flames are currently in the middle of a shortened training camp and will start their season this Sunday at the ‘Dome hosting the San Jose Sharks. They follow it up with a Monday night game, also at home, versus the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. To get the shortened season off to a raging start, the Flames will play the Canucks, Oilers and Avalanche before the month is up. Check out the full 2013 Calgary Flames Schedule.

What do I think of all this new hockey action starting up so late in the winter? I have to admit… this time around, I’m indifferent.

For the past few seasons, I’ve had a surge of Calgary Flames patriotism in the middle of September, and have been 100% ready for a kick-ass hockey season to start in October. I’ve sharpened my own skates, and most likely, taken to the ice with my own hockey team as a way to get stoked for the new NHL hockey season. But this year is a little different.

In July, I welcomed two new Flames fans into my family. My twin boys (no stupid Sedin jokes, please) were born in early July and have taken up a shit-load of my time. As a result, I couldn’t have cared less when the NHL lockout began, and really didn’t feel any attachment to the millionaires or the billionaires who were fighting over 6 or 7 zeros at the end of their salaries and revenue sharing. Likewise, I didn’t really care when the NHL cancelled the regular season schedule for October, November, December and finally, most of January. I was too busy learning how to be a new dad.

Now that hockey is coming back, I’m ready to watch some games, but I definitely don’t have the same “YEAH HOCKEY!!!” feeling I did in seasons past. I’ll definitely watch some games at home while I chill out with my little boys. That, you can be sure of. The NHL brass should note that they won’t be wearing brand new, tiny Flames jerseys, though. They’ll be wearing hand-me-down Flames sweaters, passed from family to family and finally to me… as my subtle means of protesting against the BS that was the NHL lockout.

The NHL and its teams have been focusing so much on the fans since the news of the new agreement came out. Yes, it’s for good reason – the fans pay for the league to exist, after all – but they seem to have forgotten the rest of the people that their silly squabble has affected. The NHL and NHLPA forgot about the ticket-checkers, concession workers and other staff that make a living from working at the arena. They also forgot about the bartenders and waitresses in pubs across the country that lost out on tons of hockey-night tips. But most importantly (to me, at least) they forgot about me.

Writers and bloggers across Canada (and some in the US too!) seem to be extremely stoked that hockey is back. They’ll finally be free from covering the KHL, AHL, ECHL¬† and other such nonsense¬† just to have some fresh hockey content to post on their blogs. They’ll finally have some good, solid NHL content to write about, analyze to death, and then write about again. They’ll have readers, who are legitimately interested in what they have to write, and whose website clicks will bring in extra ad revenue on a daily basis. They’ll also have a renewed sense of purpose and won’t have to make up some story about what their real job is, while trying to pick up chicks at the bar. For that, I’m truly happy.

The next time the players and owners want to fight over who gets the most gold, they should remember that their decisions affect thousands of people. It’s not just the fans who suffer when players and owners both decide that someone else is making too much money.

About Greg Hounslow (558 Posts)

Greg is the founder of Red Mile Blog has been following the Flames through good times and bad since they arrived in Calgary in the early 80s. He has written hundreds of articles on the Flames since 2005 and considers himself an expert on hockey inconsistency and frustration. He shoots right and usually plays defence, but has been known to jump up in the rush. He is a 2-time CAHL men's league champion and knows the sweet taste of beer from a Cup.


  • OldeBuffalo

    I went to the ‘Dome’ yesterday to watch the Flames. I was impressed with the up-tempo, fast paced drills that coach Bob Hartley uses in his practices. His drills are designed to see who’s ready for game speed decisions and you could see that some of the ‘fringe’ players were struggling to keep up and probably won’t make the team. The ‘Vets’ seemed at home and are ready. Bouwmeester, Sarich, Gino looked good. New addition Wideman looks like he’ll fit in nicely on the power play.

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