Hey NHL! Head to the Penalty Box

This post is admittedly just a rant…

The National Hockey League is in the midst of a labor dispute. The owners have “locked out” the players while both sides “try” to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.

The league had already cancelled all games through the end of November as well as their new “Winter Classic” that is held on January 1st and was slated to be held in “The Big House” – Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor outside of Detroit. Today, they cancelled another several weeks of games through December 14th (34.3% of the season) and they also decided to cancel the All Star Game which would have been played here in Columbus and hosted by my hometown team, The Columbus Blue Jackets.

Here was my thoughts about the situation that I shared on Facebook:

Sadly we just received notice that the NHL has officially cancelled the 2013 All Star Game which was to be played her in Columbus and hosted by the Blue Jackets.I have been a season ticket holder (with several other partners) since the team came to town and have thoroughly enjoyed attending games and supporting the team through thick and thin (trust me, it was mostly thin). We endured one lost season due to a labor lockout a few years ago and I really felt that the players and owners might be able to agree on how to share the millions of dollars they are quibbling over quicker this time.Alas, it doesn’t appear that their egos will allow themselves to make an agreement that works for both sides so fans, employees and local business owners and workers in towns and communities all around the league will suffer.

The All Star Game was going to be held on my daughter Riley’s birthday and I was really looking forward to a special weekend with her. She took a liking to the game of hockey or maybe she just enjoyed spending some time with her Dad? Either way, we have really become good “hockey watching” buddies.

Well NHL, as the old saying goes, “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I’m done purchasing season tickets.

Sure, I’ll attend future games and am certainly proud that my company continues to be the official real estate partner of the team and has a great relationship with many of the hard-working employees of the local club. A night down in the Arena District and at Nationwide Arena is a great experience, one that I hope many people will get to take advantage of again soon.

It’s just a sad realization that the sport on the ice (or television screen) isn’t as important as the business that runs it.

Carry the Flag, Jackets fans. Carry the Flag!

I got several “likes” from Facebook friends and many comments from fellow hockey fans as well as some comments from people who once liked hockey but learned their lesson the last time and haven’t been back since.
I decided to share my thoughts with Senior Leadership in the Blue Jackets organization but, not surprisingly, the email I had received notifying me of the All Star game cancellation was sent from an address that could not be replied to.
I visited the team’s website looking for a way to contact team president Mike Priest but once again, not surprisingly, there was no contact information to be found for him or any of his executive office staff. The site appears to be a satellite page of the NHL but like most big corporations, they make it virtually impossible for you to reach the people who like to be “in charge.” Not only can you not share negative feedback but you couldn’t even share positive feedback if you wanted to.
[Side note – look at your own company website. Have you made it easy for customers to reach you…or are you hiding behind a wall?]
So I did what most people do these days. I figured I’d share my thoughts on the Blue Jackets and NHL’s public Facebook pages.
Now, as you saw in my post above, there was no vulgar language, no distasteful thoughts and certainly no evil directed at anyone. It was simply one person’s heartfelt thoughts on the situation.
After posting to the two walls I went back less than 15 minutes later to find that both organizations had made the decision to remove my comments. I’m guessing that my comments were not the only ones posted and there are long threads from upset fans on each page in the comments sections of the latest updates from the page administrators.  
It appears that the NHL has the same policy for managing their social media as they do their labor – no transparency.
What a shame.
In the middle of this disruption in the sports, it seems that the league would be doing everything they can to keep the fans happy. I’m not asking for free tickets to a game or an autographed hockey stick from Wayne Gretzky. I just think a simple reply from someone in a leadership position (perhaps an oxymoron when it comes to the NHL) saying “We hear ya. We’re hoping for an agreement soon too” or even a “Thanks for your thoughts. We’re sorry you’re upset and hope we’ll have hockey back soon.”
Instead they choose to ignore and think all the fans will come back and play with them when the players and owners figure this all out?
Not me.
If the NHL thinks I’m going to come back I’ll simply look at them and say “go puck yourself!”
[UPDATED 9:45pm] I quick apology to the adminsitrators of the Columbus Blue Jacket business/fan page on Facebook. It appears that my comment was never removed. It just goes to a “hidden wall” that you can’t see when you first go to their page. You must search under “Post by Others” to see comments and updates from anyone outside of the administrators. I’m guessing this is a nice little “idiosyncrocy” on Facebook that the CBJ and NHL are happy for, huh?
I searched and searched the NHL site and could not find my post – but trust me, there are hundred of “friendly” messages for Commissioner Bettman and his greedy friends
Photo Credit: CP Storm via Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Seabamirum via Creative Commons
3 Responses to Hey NHL! Head to the Penalty Box
  1. Bob McCarthy
    November 24, 2012 | 1:43 am

    As I said on your Facebook page, the NHL may find themselves going the way of Hostess if they’re not careful. Honestly, they deserve it. The ones I feel sorry for are the small business owners who rely on those games for their businesses.

    • Sean
      November 24, 2012 | 2:18 pm

      Bob – Thanks for the comment. I agree that the NHL isn’t just making a statement on this year but many years to come. Today’s youth will quickly move on to something else that will capture their attention.

  2. […] Most of the fans will dig out their team sweaters and jerseys while some have washed their hands of the sport – frustrated and angry that the game was stopped by billionaires fighting with millionaires. Even I wrote an angry rant about the league a few weeks ago when they officially cancelled the All Star Game which was to be hosted in my hometown of Columbus on January 27th. (Click here to read Hey NHL! Head to the Penalty Box) […]