January 9, 2013; New York, NY, USA; National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the National Hockey League lockout during a press conference at the Westin New York in Times Square. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Does The NHL's Newspaper Apology Do Anything For You?

If this is your first visit to this site, welcome aboard.

Like for many of you, this isn’t your first visit here.  You’ve gotten to know the routine.  We get excited about the season, the season comes, then we start complaining about why the season has burst into a zeppelin of flames, and get excited for the draft.

It’s cyclical, really.

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I’ve never been on board to ‘boycott’ the NHL once the lockout was good and over.  Quite the opposite.  When you run a hockey website that talks about the NHL, it makes your job somewhat difficult when you’re trying to consistently put out decent content.  That, and I really like hockey.

So, when the NHL was back on January 6th, so was I.  Like many of you, I was ready in September.  Some fans say they won’t be back, or that they’re going to make the NHL wait for their entertainment dollars, or that they’ll ‘protest’ in some shape or fashion.  The NHL would have to take notice and stop taking fans for granted before some fans will spend their dollars on tickets, hats, sweaters, mittens, jackets, Christmas ornaments, and 8 dollar draft beers.

Fair enough.  And, I think many teams understand this.

Most teams have done something in order to show their appreciation.

  • The Oilers treated some 1500 folks to an old-fashioned shinny match-up this past Sunday.  They also invited the crowd to Rexall Place and fed ‘em popcorn and soda.  That’s not too bad.
  • The Blackhawks are giving away a boatload of merchandise and tickets to fans that live in the quad-state area of the team.  Getting warmer…
  • Several teams (the Sabres, Islanders, Penguins to name a few) are offering a significant cut in merchandise up and until the season starts.  25 or 50% is a nice chunk of change.
There are more that I’m missing, but you get the idea.  It’s not a million bucks in fifty dollar bills tucked nicely in a briefcase, but it’s better than a kick in the pants.
Then, there’s what the NHL did today.  They did the only sensible thing in the world, really.  And, by “sensible”, I mean “not at all sensible, in any world”.   They bought a full page apology ad in the newspapers in NHL cities.
WHY?

If you haven’t seen the ad, it was an apology.  We missed hockey, we know you missed hockey, we’re sorry we had to go through this, and we’re going to work on getting your trust back.  Seriously.  Was a full page newspaper ad really what fans on the fence really needed to see?  How would that conversation go?  “Ralph, I swore off the Flyers, but the full page ad where the NHL said they were sorry?  That really hit home, Ralph.  Maybe I got them all wrong.  I’m packing up my things, and I’m going back to the Flyers.  Now excuse me as I go holler at some bum in a Penguins tee shirt.”

COMMITTED TO EARNING BACK YOUR TRUST AND SUPPORT

Oh, go blow it out your ear.   I got a love-hate relationship with you, NHL.

I’m not one for handouts, but if the NHL wanted to make it “right” with everybody, they could have sent everyone a $20 coupon for use in the NHL store.  I’m not sure the schematics of how that would work.   One per household, one per email address, I have no clue.  Maybe they give away fifty thousand $20 coupons to the first fifty thousand people who submit their emails.  It’s something.

What I can tell you is that I have absolutely no use for a full page apology in a newspaper.  You’re sorry, I’m sorry, we’re ever so sorry.

A full page newspaper ad does nothing for me.  And I’d assume it doesn’t do much for you, either.

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