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Editorial: Let There Be Ice

The National Hockey League recently sent out a “save the date” to its 700 or so players.

Sept. 15 won’t be marking a celebration of any kind, as the ides of September represents the date on which the league will lockout its players if the two sides can’t reach a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The lockout would mark the third of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s tenure.

The league has grown exponentially since its most recent lockout in 2004-2005, which resulted in the loss of the entire season. There are 30 teams in the current NHL and each team represents a microcosm of society, considering there are workers of all backgrounds and skill levels filling the NHL arenas on game nights, from the ice to the concession stands to the luxury boxes.  

The significant question surrounding labor talks now is, “How will revenue be split between the owners and the players?” Both parties deserve their rightful piece of the pie, but what happens to the hot dog vendors who aren’t guaranteed a salary in the event of a lockout? What happens to the fans – the ones who already went through a season sans hockey in 2004 – whose greatest luxury is the pride he or she takes in owning season tickets?

If there’s another lockout, I’ll get on with my life. But can the people, whose lives depend on hockey, say the same?

– C.T.