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Thread: It's not our game anymoreBy MIKE ULMER It's Not Our Game Anymore

  1. #1
    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Unhappy It's not our game anymoreBy MIKE ULMER It's Not Our Game Anymore

    Hi to all

    As nepenthe and i were discussing in another thread We Canadians feel this to the very core of our being.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    By MIKE ULMER
    ==========


    THE NHL is still in quarantine, but you wouldn't know it from the papers, TV and the radio. This stillborn season is the domestic story of the year, maybe of the last bunch of years. It rouses us a whole lot more than, say, the sponsorship scandal (a Government Scandal here), and you have to wonder why.

    On the one hand you have a story in which incalculable millions, all of it ours, was sprayed across the Liberal landscape in the name of national unity and self-directed philanthropy.

    ENTERTAINMENT

    On the other, you have a hockey season that never started.

    Guess which one everyone wants to dissect?

    It's just hockey, not life. It's entertainment. Nice entertainment, but entertainment nonetheless.

    Nobody died. Every son or daughter of an NHL player will eat today.

    And yet the hockey story strikes to the heart of who we are. Not just because it's about hockey, but because it's about compromise or, in this case, the spectacular absence of it Wednesday morning when it mattered most.

    It's about powerlessness.

    Our powerlessness.

    The whole thing, the heavy-handed lockout, the snotty tone between the lawyers, the duelling letters, it was all so un-Canadian.

    You have to stretch to find something un-Canadian, but you can't find things more central to the Canadian soul than a dogged desire to retain our national character in the giant shadow cast by the United States or the belief in tolerance which, when set to action, becomes compromise.

    Compromise is latent in our speech. We say "eh" because at the end of a declarative sentence, we still leave room for the other guy's opinion. We accommodate two official languages, an ocean of political views and every culture in the world. We like to think we are the world's peacekeepers, the global compromisers. It is who we are or, at least, who we like to think we are.

    Having no hockey because neither Bob Goodenow nor Gary Bettman or their constituents would compromise on a $45-million US salary cap is more than just galling, more than just stupid. It has entered into that rarefied strata of un-Canadian.

    Canadians consider the Stanley Cup playoffs right up there with insulin as this nation's great gift to the world. This year's tournament was scuttled by the boys in New York, the same bunch that watched franchises in Winnipeg and Quebec head south. It doesn't matter that teams in Edmonton and Ottawa were nurtured past insolvency by that same administration.

    The people who own the game and the people who play it couldn't divide up a $2-billion pie and we, tenants all of the branch office, had no say at all.

    We're all just stomping our feet.

    We never stopped looking on the NHL as ours. Maybe it's because Canadian teams won the Stanley Cup so often, 23 times in Montreal, 11 times in Toronto, five more in Edmonton and once in Calgary.

    Maybe it's because we still supply 60% of the workforce. Maybe it's because we support the game so ardently in NHL cities and tune in so dutifully in the points in between.

    But the game isn't ours.

    It's theirs.

    It belongs to Tom Hicks and Mike Ilitch and Bill Wirtz and Peter Karmanos and Jeremy Jacobs and 20 other U.S. firms, including the one owned by George Gillett operating in Montreal.

    It was the same in the early days of the league when Big Jim Norris ran three of the six teams out of his office in Chicago. It will always be thus.

    The business belongs to the players and the union and the equipment manufacturers and the programmers and the sponsors, to the beer companies and the television networks.

    FOOLISH PRIDE

    This too, strikes to the heart of what it means to be Canadian: to think you own something just because you care about it, to mistake yourself for the cow when you are merely the teat.

    If the greed of the owners and players has been exposed by the lockout and the failed talks, so too has our foolish pride. That's what rankles.

    After all, what can be more sweetly and sadly Canadian than the sting you feel when the real owners show up and dismiss you as the squatter you are?

    ---

    Yep!

    minir
    Last edited by minir; 02-18-05 at 07:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member tao_jones's Avatar
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    Minir,

    What I dont understand is this rising sentiment that the US killed the NHL. Of the original 6 teams 4 were in the states. I do understand that canadians see hockey as their national game as americans see football as their national game but this blame it on the american $$$ BS makes me sick. I blame it on the greed of owners and players and their hard headedness to be able to come together and make a viable product. In the end the only ones that suffer are the fans...canadian, american, russian...wherever they might be.

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it. - JP II

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    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Hi tao_jones


    It is not the US that is hurting the Game, it is the US Ownership. This is not an indictment of your Country, but rather the business Men who have purchased basically the League. Combine that with the export to more Markets than wise and you have a problem.

    Yes the American Teams now outnumber Canadian teams and it has forced many changes to the way Business is being done. For example...Canadian Teams must Pay in US Currency and with our lower Dollar that can impact as much as 30% at times. Due to a larger Schedule traditional Wed. & Sat. Games being Televised are no longer the case.

    The tradition of the Game is changing.

    The simple fact is Canadians no longer have control. It is run out of NYC and American Owners basically decide what is or isn't good for the Game.

    The majority of these same Owners couldn't tell you if the Puck was Round or Square and this leads to decisions that at times are bewildering to we Canadians who do understand the Game intimately.

    It saddens us to see the Game be treated like a commodity rather than the Religion it is here in Canada. Its a Canadian thing.

    The Game here is looked on with reverence basically. Its ingrained into the core of our being from childhood. Stories handed down from Grandfathers to Kids coming up. Hard to explain to someone who has never experienced this feeling for the Game. It runs deep within us.

    It brings People across Our Land together, it is a Sport that requires Parents to take their Kids to the Rink. There is a bond between them because of that. Friends, Neighbours meet and Greet one another their.

    In many parts of Canada people drive huge distances to see or participate in the Game. It is a time to catch up on News and Whose doing what and why. It's a community of people formed by a common interest.

    An example. I was Playing Industrial League one Winter and we had a Game scheduled in a small Town about 80 miles from ours. It was a Snow storm unlike any we'd seen before. Man it was treacherous.

    I was driving a big heavy old Caddy with snows and it was still dicey. I had 4 others with me. Several other Cars doing the same thing.

    We thought of simply turning back but decided to stop at a Resteraunt and Phone the Arena. We told them if we continued we'd be late. They said don't worry, come on up. If you need to we will billet you.

    We arrived 2hrs late. The Arena was packed. They had entertained themselves till we got their.

    We got a great round of applause for showing up. We Played and our Dressing Room was filled with Beer and sandwiches after the Game. We didn't stay over but could have.

    Their Manager came to us and said The whole Town was thrilled we'd made it as this was the Highlight of the Week their. They looked forward with great delight having Teams come to play. The whole Town got behind these things.

    Anyway its sad things have come to this point and hopefully it will all be resolved soon.

    --

    Thanks tao_jones

    --

    regards

    minir

  4. #4
    If the owners are as united in their stand as we've been led to believe wouldn't that mean that the owners of the Canadian clubs feel the same way as the U.S owners do ?? ...again meaning the feeling is mutual in both countries. Both sides (players and owners) are to blame here not the U.S or Canada. I think we all( hockey fans) need to get together, throw a kegger, and cry in ours beers eh ?

  5. #5
    Best In Show Noevo's Avatar
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    Metro Detroit is home to three owners of NHL Teams; Mike Illitch (Red Wings), Bill Davidson (Tampa Bay), and Peter Karmanos (Hurricanes). Just looking at those three by themselves gives some insight into the problems facing the league. And by that I mean, the owners problems.

    First, look at Illitch. Has had great success with the Red Wings since he bought the team. Is one of the more successful owners (outside hockey- for those that don't know, Ilitch is Little Ceasers Pizza) and has been willing to spend his money on the team- big part of the reason he could justify this was because of the playoff revenue that the team generated every year. Had the wings not had long successful runs, they wouldn't be spending the money they have. Just ask the Detroit Tigers Baseball team (Ilitch owns them too, and is just starting to spend some money on them). Is that a good reason for him to say he can't afford to pay his hockey players? because he's spending it on his baseball team instead (hypothetcally at least).

    Bill Davidson, owns the Tampa Bay Lightning AND the Detroit Pistons (yeah, not a bad year eh?). Same with him, he is one of the more successful businessmen in the league (outside hockey), he runs Guardian Glass. Spending money on free agents in basketball, is that a good reason to say your hockey team is losing money? I don't know how philosophically you can seperate the spending of the two when his buying power is based on both teams, and his business really.

    ahhh, Peter Karmanos...owns the Carolina Hurricanes, and compuware. Compuware by the way is in a huge lawsuit right now (that has been brewing) with IBM. Did that influence the way he spends money on the hockey team. My guess would be yes. Another thing, carolina is one of those teams that is small market, not a high budget, etc...YET, several years ago they gave an offer sheet to Sergei Fedorov that was insane, detroit was left with the choice of losing fedorov or matching the offer sheet. If carlolina could afford that then, why did their payroll stay low? Did karmanos do it just to inflate the price that detroit would have to pay (knowing more than likely that detroit would match the offer). It's not like Karmanos can't run a team- Plymouth Whalers of the OHL are a great franchise and sell out games here in metro detroit (with or without the NHL).

    So three owners, different size markets and different thoughts on spending money even though they can roughly afford the same things. Should detroit have to lower it's payroll because of carolina is cheap?

    Not sure where this was really going, just some thoughts on three owners in the league that all happen to be from around here.

  6. #6
    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Hi Izzo & Noevo

    Izzo
    The Owners are not United in point of fact. The are Publicly of course, but from what is leaked, far from it privately. Their hands are tied by Bettman. A 1 Million Dollar Fine for stating anything negative to the Media.

    The Leafs for example where making very handsome profits as things were. The offer by the Union simply increased their potential for profit 24% higher. No they are not at all happy about the Cancellation as are several others who were in the same boat.

    Even some marginal Teams knew they could survive and flourish under the conditions offered had Bettman bothered to negotiate further. Everyone knew that the $49 Million Cap by the Union was a negotiable number, yet Bettman refused to do so. Gretzky was not at all happy as you could tell by his body language and comments.

    So neither Canadian nor American Owners are altogether pleased with the results. Especially those that care for the Game and the Fans and realize the potential fallout this will have down the road.

    It seems that the successful well managed Teams are being held hostage by those who have done a lesser job at selling the Game. Strange is it not. Would they not be farther ahead to seek knowledge from those that know what the hell they are doing and try to run their businesses better?

    The Canadian and American issue is mostly that too much influence is American. For example they dropped Winnipeg and Quebec while allowing some US Teams to carry on. Decisions are made in the US while the vast amount of support is Canadian, the Players in particular are overwhelmingly Canadian yet their input is limited.

    --

    Noevo
    I really don't know how to respond to your remarks, but the Cap is to supposed to resolve Owners from trying to outdo one another, or up the ante like the Fedorov situation you mentioned.

    The problem i have is that the $49 Million suggested is a Maximum, not a minimum, so where lay the problem? At 45/46 Million even better i suppose, but certainly not worth losing a Season over imho.

    As to Owners in general. They should for the most part simply stay the hell out of the mix. They may have deep pockets and know dollars, but they should hire solid Hockey People to Manage and run the Teams. There are a couple of exceptions, but overall it would be best for all concerned.

    We had Harold Ballard in Toronto for years sticking his nose into the decision making for the Leafs. It ultimately set the Team back 10 years. He cut Scouts, moved people in too quickly and ruined them etc. Money he had, but Hockey was not his forte.

    --

    Thanks Fellas, i hope i'm making some sense. Not one of my best days today.

    Thanks

    --

    regards

    minir

  7. #7
    Senior Member tao_jones's Avatar
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    Bettman must go and they must shrink the league.

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it. - JP II

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    Senior Member tao_jones's Avatar
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    Minir,

    Has there been any talk of creating a Canadian League at all that the big names can play in?

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it. - JP II

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    R.I.P. 2015-05-13 minir's Avatar
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    Hi tao_jones

    I agree on Bettman, but they Owners will decide that one. Were it me the little Weasel would have been gone the first time i saw him eating Pizza at a Game. I know he must sleep in Silk PJs and i think he has matching Undies.

    Goodenow is another who should depart as well imho.

    Two too many Egos there.

    As to a League here. There's always some rumbling, but we have nothing on the burner thats viable imho as of yet.

    It will play out over the next year and it will be the Owners move first i think. Depending on what they come up with will dictate what happens from there.

    Lets hope cooler heads prevail and things are worked out.

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