An Open Letter to Gary Bettman

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Updated: October 31, 2012

The following is the final draft of a letter I plan to send out in the mail tomorrow:

Dear Mr. Bettman, owners and the NHLPA:

YOU ALL SUCK.

Thanks for nothing,
Geoff

The following is what the letter looked like before I got to the point:

To anyone who will listen:

I arrived to work yesterday to a very unsettling story published on TSN.ca. The headline reads: “Winter Classic on Chopping Block as NHL Lockout Persists”. Apparently it could be cancelled as early as Thursday or Friday.

Why do I care? Well, because I’ve got tickets.

Listen here you clowns. How selfish and ungrateful are you? As fans toss and turn at night, finding ways to cope with their unexplained twitches and in some cases compelling themselves to watching the “god awful” AHL, you’re at a stand off because each side is insulted with the others offers to date. Stubborn blockheads.

Can’t you see that this is bigger than just you? That there are people, lives, and communities affected by this lockout?

All you think of is yourselves. “I don’t make enough money. I don’t want to pay him that ridiculous contract I offered. Well, if you lock me out, I’ll go play in Russia and take a paycheck from them instead, because I can’t deal with not having enough cash to keep my pretty face looking so damn good”. Oh shut it already!

I am sick of it. You can’t “settle” or make sacrifices in the effort of making a deal, but you’ll charge $150 for a jersey or $10 bucks for a cold one at a game.

To the owners: Look – it’s not the players fault you decided to circumvent the salary cap that YOU fought to put in place and found ways to offer players ridiculous $100 million contracts that you all of a sudden don’t want to pay.

If you don’t have $100 million to offer a guy – NEWS FLASH – don’t offer it.

To the players: If you really want to show the NHL you give two shits, why don’t you join your few representatives in New York in the trenches and stand pat until a deal is made? Why would the owners care if there’s an NHL season this year when most of you certainly don’t, that’s why you’re headed overseas. Good riddance. Props to guys like Bobby Ryan who called his fellow players out for giving up and heading to Europe.

To all of you: HRR? Really? That’s what you are pissing and moaning about, hockey related revenues? Here’s a bold idea – why don’t you all take a step back and realize that the $450 million you are butting heads about is only available to you because we, the fans, buy all your crap.

You don’t care about us. Why would you? How could you? If you did, you’d be playing hockey by now, or at least trying to. (Oh wait.)

I’ve been a fan of the game of hockey since I needed a diaper (about 15 years now), and as the years passed I became more and more in love with this great game. I used to tell people there was nothing like it. NHL hockey was the best thing on earth. I ate it, breathed it, drank it.

I always used to defend the game and tell people who ripped on me for being a hockey fan that the reason it was the greatest game on earth is because every player who set foot on the ice, give or take a few ,(cough, Ovechkin, cough) played for the love of the game, not the money. What do I tell them now?

I spent months waiting and waiting to hear if I would get the chance to buy Winter Classic tickets. When I got the email saying I had won the lottery and could purchase four tickets, it was like Tiny Tim seeing Kermit home from work on Christmas Eve. My crew shelled out over $2000 on tickets alone. We didn’t care; it was going to be worth every penny.

All that loyalty, dedication and passion to fork over a few paychecks for what? NOTHING. What, so that I can miserably wait and anticipate it all being cancelled later this week because you greedy schmucks think you are so special that you can deprive the people of the game they love?

And what about all the people who rely on the jobs needed to run an NHL rink for 41 games out of a year? What about their families? They can’t fly overseas to get a paycheck like you, but oh wait – you don’t care.

You guys aren’t idiots. You know that the day this lockout ends, we’ll all come back. There isn’t a more passionate fan in the world than a die-hard hockey fan, and Bettman, his puppets and the players know that.

I’d say you’re pathetic, but the more I think about it, maybe the only pathetic people are die-hards like me. We’ve been duped.

Nothing will ever change until we can all fight the urge, the addiction, the passion and not show up at the gates, not buy the jerseys, the beer, the tickets.

I was devastated when they cancelled the 2004 season. This time around, I’m angry – mostly because I fell for it again, for loving a game that many like me, can’t live without.

See ya around.

 

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