As frustrating as the lockout is for me and the many wonderful hockey fans, I had the realization that this affects many people in a much more personal manner. Without the NHL season many are out of work or have a reduced income.
As we all know the economy is not running strong at the moment and many struggle week to week or month to month already. The lockout has a trickle down effect on many who are not directly involved. I hope the egos of the owner and players do not only consider the impact of this to the fans, but also to those that support the NHL with services.
There are several groups affected here, the first being the advertisers and sponsors of the NHL. While these folks have other outlets and means to advertise, there certainly will be an impact. Think about all of those signs on the boards of the arena and the sponsors that advertise during the game. (Although I have to say one particular deodorant add is embedded in my brain from previous seasons and could be accused of over advertising). For them, this results in a reduction in revenue, which ultimately affects the companies bottom line and ultimately the employees (assuming a long term work stoppage).
More importantly are the employees and support staff for the arenas. Some are simply out of work until this is over. Even the Owners have reduced their staff or limited there hours. I have a friend who works the concessions at every Sabres game. It is not his main income, but it still brings in additional money for him and his family. All of these poor people are collateral damage.
Lets also think about the bars and restaurants that will now loose a large crowd on a regular basis. They are at risk of going out of business or reducing their staff to get through the tough times.
Further still, all of these affected people now have less dollars to spends and put back into the economy, not to mention the stress involved in trying to make a living and providing for a family. I am lucky that I am just a disgruntled fan!
The owners, and to a lesser extent the players, have a responsibility to all those who are employed and receive income as a result of hockey. I don't know how many people are directly impacted by this, the numbers are certainly into the thousands if not 10's of thousands and many more because of the trickle down effect. It is not just about the owners and the players and egos that are on the line. This lockout directly impacts the wallets of many people who do not have any say in the negotiations. This may not be a big issue at the moment, but come Christmas it will be huge for many.
When thinking about this from the perspective of the employees, I kind of feel guilty for being irate at this as a fan. Sure it is entertainment and enjoyment that I am missing, but at least it does not interfere with my ability to make a living and support my family.
Let's hope both sides realize this as well. The longer this drags out the more it will hurt. And it will be hurting real people because the league and players don't want to blink first and can't decide how to split their millions. Mean while, mortgage payments are missed and families struggle to put food on the table.