I have been an NHL fan for a pretty good portion of my life. I went to my first game when I was 9 or 10 (I can't remember the exact age, my memory isn't that good!), and it was a common occurrence to go to the Civic/Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh at least six or seven times each winter for hockey games.
I stayed true to the NHL after the lockout, and I continued to watch it. Many people didn't. Even though I didn't like the NHL's commitment to Versus/NBC (and I still don't, and never will), I still watch hockey. I still listen to hockey. I still follow hockey.
And the truth is, the NHL was just starting to get back on its feet after the first lockout. Hockey was exciting, and though it had its issues (see my column from earlier this year referencing clutching-and-grabbing in hockey), people were watching it.
But if the NHL goes to another lockout when the current CBA expires next month, it might very will kill the sport altogether.
One lockout is bad enough. Some would argue that the MLB has never been the same since the lockout in 1994. Fans didn't appreciate the NFL lockout too much. The NBA had a lockout a few years ago, too, but sometimes I wonder if anyone even noticed...or cared.
But two lockouts within 10 years? Only the diehard fans are going to stick out something like that. The NHL is going to have a ton of work to do to build up their credibility with their fans again. There are going to be quite a few people who will probably never turn on a hockey game again if there's another lockout.
The NHL owners don't want to pay the players more. They want to keep more revenue in their pockets. The players don't want that. So everyone's at a standstill.
It's an example of the overall mindset in America. Nobody's happy with what they have. Everyone always wants more, more, more. Even having a steady income, a reliable vehicle, and a suitable place to live isn't enough anymore for the average Joe.
And it's not just that we want more. It's almost like we expect more, like we are entitled to everything in the world, and if we don't get it, well, the hell with you then.
But the nature of the beast is, if all we do is want more, more, more...we're never going to be happy.
Alix Kunkle is the News Editor of the Leesville Daily Leader in Leesville, La. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.