So What Now?

Over the next few days, you’re going to read a lot of stuff from everywhere about what happens now. Do the fans come back? Should they come back? Should they forgive? What should the league do to try and start to make it up to us? It will go on and on, and you’ll hear every possible opinion.

From our perspective, I’ll just say that there is no wrong answer. If you feel burned and don’t ever want to come back, that’s fine. If you love hockey and the Hawks so much and that you’ll stroll right back into the UC when the season kicks off and not think twice, that’s fine too. There isn’t one path to what makes all of us happy, and whichever you want to do is how you have to go about it.

But for a lot of us, there is a conflict within us that we have to resolve. But that’s easily done.

To me, there’s two parts to being a hockey fan — or really a fan of any sport. The first is buying your tickets, tuning into to watch, buying the shirts and the gear. This is the part we all feel conflicted about, I’m sure.

The second, and to me the far more important, is not going to the game, but who you’re sitting next to at it. Or who is at the next barstool over or bringing over the chicken wings to your house to watch the game. It’s striking up a conversation at the bar with another guy you saw in a Hawks jersey and talking about who should be on the wing on the second line or what it would take to get Jarome Iginla to Chicago. It’s commenting on this blog and having it devolve into a discussion for your favorite Joy Division song. It’s sending taunts via twitter or email to your friends in St. Louis or Detroit. It’s all that and more.

And you can have all the second part, and not feel the least bit bad about it, while not contributing to anything that took the first part away from you these past few months. You could not wear or buy new merchandise. You don’t have to buy tickets. And if you go watch the game at a bar — a business that was truly wounded by the lockout quite possibly — you won’t even be contributing to their ratings. Reading this blog, commenting on it, or others as well. You can have all of that. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice all that makes this fun and special to merely exact some kind of vengeance on the much smaller first part of being a fan.

Because in the end, it’s hard to know what we’ve truly lost. Yes, our emotions have been skinned. We’ve been reminded where we stand. But deep down, didn’t we know all that already? We knew the owners merely look at us as dollars on legs. We knew that the players don’t think of us as much more than scenery. We may lie to ourselves from time to to time, but we know. Tickets for games not played will be refunded, planned trips for road games can be done in the future. Yeah, we’ve had to fill a lot of empty nights with things we didn’t like, and we won’t forget that.

None of this is to say I’m ready to just pretend it’s all over and try and go back to normal. As I stand here writing this now, I have to say that I would be shocked if I actually attend the first home game. I’ll be outside at my post before selling the CI, but I heavily doubt I’ll go in the doors. It just doesn’t feel right. Nor will I be donning any Hawks gear soon. It’ll be the Liver bird hat for me for a while.

But does that mean I won’t immediately leave my post, haul ass to HQ, walk in and slap Killion upside the head with a fish before taking the stool next to him, order a round for both of us, and watch said first home game next to him? Of course it fucking doesn’t. Shit, I want to do that right now. I can hardly wait the two weeks to do that again.

As for apologies, I don’t think I need one. Sure, free Center Ice would be nice. Maybe some promotions or discounts. But what we all want really is the players back on the ice and playing as hard as they can. The game is enough, it’s all we’ve asked for since September when this madness started.

As I always say, and it’s stolen from my brother, hockey is like Tom Petty. Life is just better with that in it. So let’s all enjoy it in our way together again, shall we? We better enjoy it together, because for that first month, man is the quality going to be shitty.

  • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

    Hello this is Bob car gold that. #offseasonrust #preistseasonform

    • ahnfire

      preistseasonform? maybe we should’ve sent Bob over to the KHL during the lockout so you would’ve stayed sharp…

    • laaarmer

      ##

  • DaveM36

    Can’t wait for the first IGT.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

      GDT! GDT!

      • DaveM36

        See how long it’s been? I forgot what the damn thing was called.

  • http://twitter.com/stites8 Glen Stiteley

    I think most fans need to reset their expectations. Once free agency hit sports, the owners lost their ability to totally control player salaries so lockouts and work stoppages will become the norm. Every sport has had them and will continue to have them. While the bulls are fun to watch nothing makes my winters than watching and reading about hockey…GO HAWKS!

    • 10thMountainFire

      Fuck the NBA. Mostly because fuck them, that’s why.

      • DaveM36

        So glad I don’t have to spend the winter pretending I’m an NBA fan. Even with Derrick Rose in town, I just can’t get into that league.

        • 10thMountainFire

          Mostly because it sucks.

          • DaveM36

            And I grew up watching MJ. Everything else has just paled in comparison.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Yep. As soon as the Jordan/Olajuwon/Robinson group left, I said a congratulatory ‘fuck you’ to that sport and league. The only one left of the old guard seems to be Tim Duncan. He’s classy.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Wait. We’re supposed to be talking about Jarome Iginla in an indianhead sweater and our favorite Joy Division songs.

          • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

            Wrong. All JD songs are good. You can’t love one better than the others. jk, it’s “New Dawn Fades”.

        • Joe Banks

          Bouncy Ball sucks!

        • TMFF

          I would rather receive a Vancouver Molston enema than watch the NBA, why because Fuck them that is why!

  • http://twitter.com/crystallakemike Mike

    I’ll take a pass on the Center Ice package as long as Frolik stays in Europe and never comes back.

    • Joe Banks

      Frolick’s eyebrow is very sad!

  • activestick

    bad NHL hockey is still better than any other hockey.

    • 10thMountainFire

      The media relations department of the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL franchise approves this message.

      • http://twitter.com/oregon_hawk Oregon_hawk

        hahahah. zing. its been way too long since the SCH community was around

      • ahnfire

        aaaand an upboat for you!

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Not convinced of that after watching the junior championships

  • putmeinthemadhouse

    Can’t wait for the first game. I ain’t buyin shit, but hell if I’m not watchin it.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I’m not going to pretend I have the fortitude to sustain the grudge. I’m going to get shitfaced before the first period of opening night and shout at Soupy like a gorilla in the 300 level. Even if it’s just at Buffalo Wild Wings. Because I can, that’s why.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Agreed. No NHL related purchases this year. But I will watch every damn game on TV…. Sigh….

      • stacie7

        I don’t plan on purchasing anything, but if I’m given something as a gift who am I to refuse it – right? You know gift horse and mouth thing after all.

  • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

    T
    A
    O
    B

  • unknown operator

    shadowplay. 24 hours. colony.

  • Preacher000

    Wish I could protest in some way like not buying tickets, but living in Wisconsin, I can only watch on Center Ice. So I have to pay to even see the games on TV. Sigh… Still, it will be nice to see our boys back in action. I think it will be nice. I’m a bit conflicted right now. After watching my son score 4 goals in 2 games for his squirt team today, I’m not sure any other hockey can measure up.

    • ahnfire

      awww! future Blackhawk, huh? :)

    • Joe Banks

      You cannot top that!

    • laaarmer

      It cannot measure up. Youth hockey is better than anything else. What was the snack?

  • Joe Banks

    Just offering my two cents here…
    These past few months have tough on many of us, not necessarily just because of the NHL lockout. There’s an old saying, “Tough times don’t last, but Tough People do”. That having been said…

    Sam Fels posts throughout this train wreck have been absolutely inspirational and amazing. To name just a few that stood out to me:

    December 7th REPLACEABLE
    December 23rd REMEMBERING A FRANCHISE REBORN

    Kudos to Sam for a job well done. Thank you, Sam!

  • TMFF

    I have no issue contrbituing here or even the for place. But I will NOT spend a single dime on them this season that they can see or put in their pocket. With where I am it makes it VERY difficult to to follow the sport.

    BTW Fuck both the owners AND players. They are both fuckwad-douchefucks in this mess.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

      I kinda liked the 2pm game starts and 7am starts sometimes on the weekends. I didn’t have a hard time on big island, but nefarious streams were a little easier to come by back then.

  • http://www.facebook.com/USA.Kyle Kyle Miller

    Patrick Kane Vid made 1 day ago, I chuckled http://youtu.be/uMz8I5fXXMA

    • Gozer the Traveler

      that video was completely fucking ridiculous.

      • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

        I wasn’t fooled by Gary Baneman.

      • http://www.facebook.com/USA.Kyle Kyle Miller

        Kaner coming to our rescue to save us from Gary Baneman is not ridiculous.

  • juliets dad

    …..as for my daughter and myself the down time started in anger then resentment towards both sides, i will not spend a dime on NHL sponsored items but in the same breath this is about us now we want hockey back and my money is already in his bank for our tickets we are going to attend every home game we can, our enjoyment of a game we love outweighs there self serving greed and outright disrespect for the fans, as i said this is about us now.

  • sofaking

    Didn’t think I would be excited when the ysettled, but shit I must of missed hockey because I am? Guess it’s in the blood and not easily removed.. Ok did we get a goalie yet? Here we go lol…

    • Joe Banks

      Hockey is good? SofaKing good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.fisher.581 Timothy Fisher

    Still trying to figure out posting here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

      Good job. 1 upboat for you.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Looks like you have it sussed. Quicker than I did, anyway.

    • KingTalkyTiki

      Only took me 2 hours yesterday…so you got me beat.

  • http://twitter.com/crystallakemike Mike

    I’ve followed the sport for 20 years (even those years that teams would come to the UC and play their backup goaltender against the Hawks starter), so there is not much that is going to make me avoid watching. While the sport does not have the prolific players to compare with past decades, I have felt the overall quality has been very high the past three to five years. While I certainly would have liked a full season, any season is better than none. I’m not sure what protesting will accomplish. Hell, I haven’t been to the UC since the 2009 playoff OT goal by Havlat, but I’m pretty sure that hasn’t impacted the Blackhawks financially.

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    Unsubstantiated, but one radio report this morning stated that the KHL was insisting that Russian national NHL players honor their contracts and play through the KHL all star game. Do we really want to upset a bunch of Russian ‘businessmen?’

    • DesertHawk

      Sure.

    • justforkicks

      i saw on twitter, i forgot whos, that they were just asking if players could play through their ASG. idk, who can afford to upset who considering olympics are also coming up

  • redkoolaid

    If this thing had lasted the whole season (and possibly beyond) then i might’ve had a difficult time getting over my anger and coming back. But now, as it stands, I’m just happy that I’m going to have the Hawks to get me through the dark days of winter (at least). As bad as this thing was (and it was VERY bad), I still can’t help thinking that it could’ve been worse.

  • raditzzzz

    to me, the lockout is part of the business. just like seeing a player traded or acquired, we all look at those situations and see past the veil we put up for ourselves that when watching the NHL, we are watching something more than a business and when those times hit, we remember that the reality we’ve constructed is not the exact situation. as a fan, i don’t necessarily feel like i have some huge entitlement to the nhl, just to where i spend my money and time. as it is, i spend maybe a $100 or so a season on mech and watch 98% of the games on TV for free. watching the hawks inspired me about the game, inspired me to take up the skates without any previous experience (and beyond that, the pads) and see what the sport had to offer in real life. for that i’m grateful, and will be back supporting the team that did that for me.

    i wore my hawks jersey for the first time since the lockout yesterday to show that support, as i’d put away all my stuff except for my hat until the charades were over. even now, i don’t plan on spending anything on merchandise this year, and the only game i’ll see at the UC is if i get free tickets. but when it comes to The Committed Indian, i actually do feel like you guys have a legitimate right to be pissed. you are the victims of the squabbling, as you guys are the ones who are out there actually growing the game, engaging people, informing and entertaining. i continually wish you the best, and can’t wait for things to get back to normal. because this blog rocks.

  • thepuckstopshere

    It was all a bad dream, nuff said. Now drop the puck will ya!

  • 334Rules

    A friend of mine suggested we all sit utterly silent for the first 113 seconds of the game, a second for each day lost. That’s probably more realistic than my idea of everyone boycotting just the first game. I’d like to do that, but I know that deep down I’ll be getting my beer from Bonnie and sliding into my seat just like every game.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Or don’t cheer the anthem.

  • justforkicks

    i’ll be watching. i’m too excited not too. would love to see kane pants schneider on home ice. and toews go five hole on everybody’s ass. and hossa healthy. etc. etc. now that its done i’m not even really angry anymore. i didn’t matter to them before and i won’t matter to them now so being angry or upset serves no purpose then to bring myself down.

  • jtm1631

    I’ve been a Hawks fan for over 30 years but this lockout hurt. I was set to walk away from the NHL but I can’t.

    I just moved from Chicago to Denver and there is no way I can give up the connection to home. Just reading these responses has me excited to watch games. I’ll buy Center Ice and I’m sure I will go to a number of Avs games. If for no other reason than because you can actually get tickets.

    Hockey is back and it is time to move on. Let’s go Blackhawks!

    • stacie7

      Not only can you get tickets there, but they are much cheaper. Pepsi Center is a nice arena too. You will probably end up going to more Avs games then you ever would in Chicago.

  • http://twitter.com/Grabtindy Grabtindy

    Comprehensive summary of the provisions that made this lockout worth the
    wait:
    http://www.hockeywilderness.com/2013/1/6/3842884/new-nhl-cba-an-exhaustive-list-of-new-provisions-worth-the-lockout

  • Accipiter

    Soooo … when is the winter classic ?

    • laaarmer

      Christmas in July at McMurdo station? Real pond Hockey

    • Joe Banks

      January 1st, 2014

  • laaarmer

    I thought I would chime in regarding jerseys. Don’t have one. Look at Chevy in Christmas vacation, or Cameron in Ferris Bueller. Unless you are a player, players babe, a kid, or that player actually gave you the jersey, I don’t get it at all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

      I wore my Red #7 Cheli in my DJ days and snowboarding. Felt silly wearing it elsewhere (including to the games).

  • http://twitter.com/oregon_hawk Oregon_hawk

    8-12 days. 8-12 days…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=694832515 Bryan Bedell

    I love the blog but don’t generally read the game threads or comments, so this might have come up many times, but… I see this as an opportunity for you, what if you guys did a staff-only liveblog of each game? It’d be a fun way to check in on the game and see what was going on, and a nice coherent-but-somewhat silly record of the game for posterity, and a way for people like me to follow games and not support the Man. I know the game comment threads are a similar idea, but there’s a lot of noise there, I’d prefer something slightly more structured and regular (Committed?!), still with tangents and irrelevance and fun, but just a little more focused on the play of the game and just your perspective. Just a thought!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=694832515 Bryan Bedell

      RTOMP: Look how Wonkette covers speeches and debates, something like that. Snark and silliness, but still getting the message across, reliably.

  • BigCSouthside

    I was pissed at the NHL. Then I saw hawks highlights on WGN and foley going batshit after toews five holed a motherfucker. The anger went away. Lets drop the puck!

    • http://twitter.com/oregon_hawk Oregon_hawk

      Verb’ed ‘five hole’. excellent.

  • Joe Banks

    I read that since Ryan Kessler was injured before the lockout, he never missed a paycheck and was allowed to rehab with team doctors.

    So I thought to myself… “was that a dive?”

    • pointmesouth

      They still don’t know if he’s going to be able to play at all this season.

      • Joe Banks

        Even though it’s Kessler, that would suck.

  • M7

    Finally. Can’t wait for the schedule to be released.

  • west_fulton

    “it is what it is”

    there isn’t a goddamned thing i can do to make the NHL feel my pain other than not put my ass in the UC this season, not buy licensed items this season & not purchase center ice.. and even then, i certainly am not delusional enough to think that they actually feel that. but on principle – i will really try to not do any of those things this season.

    I will, however, be at one of the many bars around the UC when the puck drops. I won’t miss a second of the game and ill enjoy every second of seeing west-side bartenders busy getting their hockey faithful sloshed during 3 hours time on a weekday. (lots of folks around me are professing some righteous ability to just ignore the games on TV when we start back up – thats how they will ‘stick it back to the NHL’ – especially on opening night. i just don’t have that in me nor do i see the point. but i commend you if you feel like thats something you have to do)

    so happy to come to CI today and read this post and see all the comments. it’s official for me now. can’t. wait.

  • puppetmasterp

    I’m mad, definitely. But winter without hockey makes me semi-homicidal by mid-Feb. I probably won’t by merch, and I highly doubt I’ll be attending any games, but I look forward to going to a bar with owners I like and giving them my money again while I watch games.

  • GenPabloEscobar

    My quasi-logical plan is to not buy food/beer at the UC for awhile because I don’t want to reward the Wirtz family with my ancillary business after this lockout, but I’m going to randomly drop singles and fives into tip jars at the food counters and bars because they’re the innocent ones who got screwed in this. I’m not delusional to the fact that leaving $20 in tips in random cups is going to make a difference in the rent money for the staffers, but every little bit counts.

  • Waylon

    Don’t know if I’ll pay for Center Ice out here in Portlandia, but one thing I do know – Tom Petty basically aped everything Roger McGuinn did much earlier.

  • Joedl42

    Excited to be back.
    As far as Hawks gear, I will continue to wear my hats, shirts, and jersey like I have been all year because the only thing I love more than hockey itself is wearing that Indian head on me. That being said I don’t see me buying anything new anytime soon.

  • nextgame

    Glad hockey’s going to be back.
    Glad this blog and communtiy is back.
    Felt mad, sad, frustrated, indifferent, hopeful, brokenhearted, vengeful (sometimes all at the same time) over the course of following this whole ridiculous episode.
    At times I didn’t care if they ever played again.
    At times I missed it bad.
    The bottom line is this.
    I love hockey.
    I love NHL hockey.
    I love watching the Blackhawks play NHL hockey.
    I’ll be in my seat come puck drop of the home opener and all games after.
    I’ll watch the road games on TV.
    I’m not going to deny myself something I enjoy so much just to spite the league or the players (as if they’d know or care).
    My spending outside of what I’ve already laid out for tickets will be non-existent. Not because I think it’ll make some point to anybody about how disgruntled I am as a fan, but because it feels like the thing to do to me.
    What’s done is done. Can’t change it.
    I’m just going to try and enjoy having Hawks hockey back.

  • CozBullsFan

    I love hockey and I’m glad the lockout is over. Bettman and the owners can get (insert appropriate British term.)