Collateral Damage – Hockey Fans and the working class Joe


by Effie, Staff Writer,

MONTREAL, QC. — Watching my son play football at Jeanne Mance Park, I am struck with how competitive these kids are and how they strive to be the best and win.

They are fourteen and fifteen year olds.

This competitive nature is part of the psyche of all athletes.

No one wants to be ordinary. No one strives for mediocrity.

Everyone wants to be the best.

Everyone in the end, wants to play and prove their worth.

While the NHL and the NHLPA figure out a solution to their negotiation woes, the players want an alternate place to play.

This has been made quite evident in the exodus of NHL players to European and Russian leagues and in the creation of the friendly tournament, Tournée des Joueurs 2012, the brainchild of Maxime Talbot and Bruno Gervais of the Philadelphia Flyers.

That’s great for the players, because while they aren’t willing to settle their disagreements with the league, they want to play, and play competitively.

Thing is, this exodus doesn’t help the local markets of these NHL teams. It certainly isn’t helping Montreal.

“Many people work because of hockey, and I don’t mean the hockey players.”

That was my dad’s favourite saying when he owned a little pizza joint in the Hochelage-Maisonneuve district of Montreal for many, many years.

Hockey nights were very busy nights for pizza delivery, and my dad loved hockey nights.

The restaurant was always hopping.

Everything is hopping when it’s a hockey night. People wish each other a “Bon Match,” they gather at their local eateries and watering holes to take in the match together as groups, or they simply stay home and watch the game in the comfort of their couch and order in pizza!

Yet my mind still goes back to thinking about how many family, friends and neighbours who work in the hotel and tourist industry, media, restaurants, pubs, sports bars, and even the Bell Centre are affected by this lockout.

Too many.

Makes me wonder if anyone sitting at the negotiating table thought about that waitress in the pub who looks forward to a busy hockey night because her tips will be increased one hundred fold.

Probably not.

I read about the negotiations and how they are at an impasse and wonder if any of these millionaires would give up their salaries to assist those who will clearly suffer since there is no hockey.

Probably none.

Recently, I chatted with the manager of a well-known eatery and bar on Crescent Street and asked him how he thought the impending closure and subsequent demolition of Thursday’s Bar Complex would affect his business. He said it most definitely will, as less people will be coming to the street because of the demolition and construction crews.  He also went on to say that “if we have no hockey, we are screwed.”

“If we have no hockey, we are screwed.”

The new anthem.

If this lockout continues, I wonder how many fans will abandon the game? How many fans are that outraged?

When the lockout ends, and it will, I believe sometime in early December, I will continue to watch and cheer on Nos Glorieux.  I will continue to buy tickets and watch them play live.  I will continue to purchase my Habs gear.

I will not abandon them.

It’s just not in me to do that.

Yet lingering, like a cold that won’t go away, is the thought that I can’t help but wonder what will happen to the regular Joes if this lockout goes into the new year and there is no hope for salvaging the season.

That, at the moment, is a scenario that I choose not to accept.

The negotiations will continue, and they will come to fruition, and the players will all come back and we will have a great, albeit compressed season.

Let’s just hope it’s sooner rather than later.


  1. Well said Effie!
    Hockey is more than just NHL, NHLPA and fans. It is about The City. You brought us down to reality. The 4th entity involved. Silent yet the entity that hurts the most in this lockout!
    Let’s all hope for a quick resolution!

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