Needed but not essential.

We are talking about hockey here. And yes, I confess, I am one of those long-forgotten Toronto Maple Leaf fans. I remember as a youngster I walked by that sainted temple built by Conn Smythe at Carlton and Church on the way to and from school. I remember celebrating with green seats when I first took my young son to a Leaf’s game. Because of the miracle of television, he could quickly tell me how each of my favourite players were doing. He recently turned 50 and he has still never seen the buds win a Stanley!

I admit, I was not overly hopeful for that fresh young team with which the Leafs opened the season last year. They just looked good and the wife and I enjoyed watching the occasional CBC Saturday night game—until the world stopped turning for a pandemic.

You would think we would be dancing around celebrating the announcement of a series of quasi-playoffs over the summer. Well, we aren’t. Frankly, we are stunned by the greed of the owners.

It is easier to understand the greed of premier Jason Kenney in Alberta, who wants his province to be a hub of play for this farce. Kenney has already written to Justin Trudeau asking (or demanding?) that the NHL be declared “essential” so that there would be no delays in bringing players back and forth across the border.

I guess the league will offer some payment to the players for the games but this is all raw greed on the part of the NHL owners. Nobody I know would be eager to run a tag day for those vultures.

This entire scheme is nothing more than a desperate attempt to rescue some of the television revenue that the league has come to enjoy. You can also imagine the sports channel chiefs salivating at the thought of some decent revenue during this pandemic.

I think we can boil this all down to two words we would like to offer to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: Get stuffed.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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