NHL fans can learn from the NFL officating debacle

September 28, 2012, by

The NHL and the NHLPA have already cancelled the entire preseason.

In case you’ve missed it, the NFL and the NFLRA settled their lockout yesterday, ending the debacle that had become the replacement referees influencing the outcome of games. The biggest issue came this past Monday night, when a botched call gave Seattle a win over Green Bay.

Why do I bring up football on a hockey blog?

Well, the NFL received over 70,000 emails in the first 24 hours following that botched call. The issue wasn’t so much the botched call as it was the replacement refs influencing games. Seventy thousand emails and two days later, the NFL settled with the NFLRA, and the regular refs are back in action.

See what I’m getting at yet?

The fans played a big part in ending a lockout that was affecting the game. Considering the state of hockey at the moment, maybe we fans can learn from this. Simply put, if the fans pressure the league enough, it might force them back to the negotiating table, like it did with the NFL. Even if a deal isn’t struck immediately –like with the NFL– it’s still progress.

As we mentioned yesterday, the current timeline of cancellations means that if no significant progress is made over the weekend, then we will begin to lose regular season games. For fans that have endured the loss of a full season just seven years ago, and roughly half of a season a decade before that, the thought of losing more games is downright infuriating.

With the presumption that Gary Bettman and the owners are using fan loyalty as leverage in these negotiations, maybe their negotiating tactics take a hit if the fans start emailing the league with their frustrations.

That said, the NHL is not the NFL. The NFL generates billions of dollars to the NHL’s hundreds of millions of dollars. All NFL teams make a profit. Barely half of NHL teams make a profit.

The situations are different, but the fans are still the ones left out in the cold. It takes five minutes of your time to email the NHL and voice your frustrations over the third lockout in two decades. The link to contact the NHL is here. I know I already filled out a complaint.

Categories : Business of Hockey


  1. Mikeyyy says:

    My feedback posted at NHL .com

    If the NHL and the owners do not come to an agreement with the players and start canceling regular season games, I will stop supporting the NHL

    I see 20 hurricane games a season with my wife and two kids

    We also buy a lot of merchandise, posters, jerseys, etc.

    While you may think that NHL hockey is the best in the world, there are other avenues that I can take that give back the same satisfaction as watching an NHL game.

    Ahl, chl, khl, sel, Czech league etc. and with our favorite players playing on those teams it is not a problem for us to watch them.

    Your biggest mistake is believing the fans will return.

    Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Fool me 3 times and I won’t be a fan. I am speaking of the 2 previous lockouts that you have been unable to stop.

    A 3rd lockout in 15 years is unprecedented in any sport.

    And as of now it’s the greed o the owners that is stopping NHL hockey. If small market teams are not making a profit, then why did the wild shell out over 18 million on two players.

    If the owners want to curb loss, then stop giving out such big contracts. In the end the efficiency and profitability of an organization is the responsibility of the owners not the players. And punishing the fans because of that is just low.


    A former NHL family.

  2. tom moore says:

    i just sent in my complaint stating this time around i wont be back. they need to get there sh** together, period. its to bad we dont have a fans union!! as much as i love this sport i refuse to be taken advantage of, im embarrassed to be a fan which ive never felt before. its probably just about time to step away.

  3. SalMerc says:

    The NFL is a lucrative business that includes betting as almost an acceptable pasttime. The NHL does not have the TV revenue or the overall appeal that the NFL has. While letters may get some attention, the NHL lockout is NOT effecting the credibility of the game as the replacement referees were.