Dear NHL and NHLPA,
Thank you for ruining not only the 2012-13 NHL season but the game in general with your greed. The image of this once proud sport has been tarnished and may never recover from a third lockout in eight-teen years. You believe your fans will come back no matter what happens but I'm here to tell you that we fans will not be back. We have had it with you "crying poor" and claiming "we need the best deal" tactics. I do not feel sorry for one of you on either side. There are people I do feel sorry for however, and they are the arena employees and league officials. All owners and players should go to the homes of each and every one of these employees and have to look into their children's eyes and tell them why the Christmas gifts they wanted aren't under the tree because mommy and daddy couldn't afford them while trying to pay utility bills, put food on the table and in many cases pay for school and related supplies. They are now also forced to search for new jobs and in this economy that is no easy task.
This all started because since the 2004 Lockout the owners have found ways to circumvent the cap which they fought so preciously for, only to try to gain a competitive advantage. You signed these players to ludicrous contracts and now have the stones to ask for that money back? It's a very bold move by the owners. This was your own fault and then because the players wouldn't break to your demands you locked them out and waited to hold negotiations until after last season had ended. You now are on the verge of losing an entire season and countless die-hard fans because of greed.
The players are now no longer blameless in this whole matter, as they are listening to the ruthless Don Fehr and his approach of hold out for more. They knew what they got themselves into by hiring this man and now it has come to fruition in the form of lost games and money. Their big sticking points are the contract give backs, which is fine to fight for, and the 5 year contract limit. NEWS FLASH: only 46 total players in the league have deals longer than 5 years. This makes the superstars of the game look greedy as they wish to make as much money as possible to play a child's game.
Somewhere between the contracts and sponsorship deals the love for the game has been lost. That is the saddest part in this.
I will not support this league financially again. If the NHL ever comes back I will only watch the games on TV with friends and family or listen to the local announcers on the radio. I will never stop loving the team who plays and Broad and Pattison in South Philadelphia, but I am also never returning to that arena unless someone hands me free tickets (and yes, I am bringing my own food in with me if that's the case). The hats, shirts, jerseys and all other merchandise which has an NHL shield on the front will no longer be worn or proudly displayed in my household without being blacked-out by a black ink permanent marker. I will support the fan made shirts and other apparel as they have no affiliation with you and do in fact love the game. I have been wearing Flyers apparel since I was an infant over 20 years ago and this decision does in fact hurt me as a fan but it needs to be done to show the NHL and NHLPA a lesson. I know my protest will not matter to either of you, and therein lies your biggest issue: lack of concern for everyone else who support you.
From the Box