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You hear that? It’s the sound of apathy, not anger

Apathy is worse than anger.

We’ve heard all of the arguments from the owners. We’ve heard all of the arguments from the players. They all point to one conclusion: Neither side truly cares about the fans. If they did, they would set egos aside and get a deal done. But they don’t, so we sit and wait while they cancel November and the Winter Classic.

But the emotions let out by the fans, those are the ones that are changing.

When the lockout began, fans were angry. When October was canceled, the fans were angry. When November was canceled, the fans were really angry. The sides aren’t that far off, and it is clear that egos have gotten in the way of true business decisions. Neither side wants to lose, but in collective bargaining, neither side ever wins. Both sides know the obvious deal to be had, but neither wants to put it on the table.

And now the Winter Classic is gone. But also gone are the angry tweets. Also gone are the angry responses. Also gone are the petitions. Also gone are the angry blog posts. Also gone is the trust. What remains is apathy.

I tweeted a pretty long rant yesterday when the Winter Classic cancellation went public. It was the natural response. But the more time I take, the more I realize that I don’t really care all that much. It’s different for me than it is for Chris, who plans trips to the US for hockey.There is still hockey on TV, and I can stream games from my laptop.

I’m not buying tickets, I’m not buying merchandise. I’m not spending money at Harringtons or The Flying Puck (well, not as much as I used to). Instead, I am able to take my girlfriend out. I am able to buy myself a new iMac. I am able to save a little more money.

It appears I am not alone in this thinking. I have received countless tweets in my @ mentions, and it’s funny how the emotions expressed changed over the course of a month. In September and early October, it was all anger. In late October, it was extreme anger. Right now, it’s all apathy. It’s all summed up by one tweet from @dkatzism:

@BlueSeatBlogs: Here’s the problem, Dave. Too many people just don’t give a [poop] at this point. And that’s hardcore fans I’m talking about.

It’s that last bit which I find intriguing. Hardcore fans, the ones that the league is counting on coming back, don’t care anymore. The corporate fans will return for business purposes. The fair-weather fans will return when their clubs begin to win. You will have some hardcore fans that come back, but there’s a good portion that are too smart to come back. There’s a good portion that realize when we are being used and disrespected. That portion of the fans is growing. That portion of fans just doesn’t care about the NHL or its players anymore.

Will those fans eventually come back? Absolutely, but it’s not going to be instantaneous. It’s comparable to the best friend who sleeps with your ex. He/she did something stupid and destroyed the trust factor. However, try as you might, you won’t hate them forever. Eventually the trust rebuilds itself. That process takes a while.

As for me? Well I have Optimum, so MSG and MSG HD are free. I will continue to watch my Rangers. NBC and NBC Sports are free, so I will continue to watch national games. The blog operates at a break-even point, so I will continue to blog. I will not purchase tickets. I will not purchase merchandise. I will not purchase NHL ’14. I will not purchase NHL Center Ice. I will not spend a cent of my own money on the NHL or its players.

I have become apathetic.

6 Responses to “You hear that? It’s the sound of apathy, not anger”

  1. the other bob says:

    So true. I didn’t renew my season tickets because of the massive price increase and the impending lockout. I figure I can spend a couple grand on a nice home theatre set up and still be ahead. Will I miss the people I sat with in 314? Totally. But ive gotten their contact info, and I’m sure we will get together for a few games. Maybe I will see you at the Flying Puck

  2. meshuggah says:

    “I will not purchase merchandise. I will not purchase NHL ’14. I will not purchase NHL Center Ice. I will not spend a cent of my own money on the NHL or its players.” I am 100% with you on this, I dont care…Dave, you should send this post to the NHL & NHLPA but then again they dont care

  3. Evan says:

    NYR season tick holder here. Your post nailed it. At this point, looking forward to the refund to spend the money on other things. And given the tragedy around NY metro area this week, who really cares about hockey anyway?? Sidney and his NHLPA should be forced to tour the Jersey shoreline and Staten Island and Long Island and then try to convince us how much their “plight” really matters. Have the NHL players actually even done anything to help people around here? That is where there is still a little anger. But in the end, nobody cares anymore. It’s not even news.

  4. Ducks54 says:

    Totally with you on this. I’m a diehard Ducks fan and unfortunately, the smaller hockey markets are going to take years to decades to recover, if ever. The momentum gained for Southern California hockey with the Kings winning the cup is all but gone, and even the diehards are enjoying the extra money in their pockets. It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice and money to be a hockey fan here, to actively go out and find a sport that doesn’t grow in your backyard. We’re using the lockout to rediscover our non-hockey friends and families and honestly, we kinda like having that part of our lives back.

  5. Jim says:

    Former New York Ranger and Stanley Cup winning goaltender, Mike Richter will be making an appearance at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY on Saturday, December 1st from 2:30pm-4:30pm. Bring your own items or Unsigned Photos. Pucks, Jerseys, and Sticks will be Available For Purchase on the day of signing. Don’t miss out on meeting the all-time winningest goaltender in Rangers history! Limited tickets available at http://www.kellyssportscorner.com. Click events to purchase tickets .

  6. Jess says:

    Actually what I kind of wish people would do is stop making it seem like NHL hockey is all that hockey is when it isn’t.
    There is a ton of hockey out there that is at times even more entertaining than what the NHL puts out. I get to what those who still play the game for the love of the sport. Maybe I am lucky as I get to watch those chasing the dream.

    I know I am lucky because I can attend the CHL or NCAA hockey where the show is more than just the game played. Take a trip and go see a NCAA game or spend the money and watch some CHL hockey.

    It is the real hockey not the corporate crap the NHL dumps on you.