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Some fans rejoice; others ready to boycott

Daniel Leroy | Fulcrum Staff

After 113 days, the two gentlemen who have been haunting the nightmares of so many Canadians since last September stood together on Jan. 6 and said, “We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper.” In other words: the lockout is over.

Donald Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, and Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League (NHL),  reached an agreement that will bring hockey back to the puck-loving fans of Canada and the U.S. The deal will lower the salary cap imposed on teams to make it easier for teams to exist in cities where hockey is not a hugely popular sport (like Pheonix and Miami, for example), and delay the writing up of a new contract once again, for another ten years as opposed to five. Revenue will be split 50/50 between the players and the owners, and fans can look forward to a 48- or 50-game season.

Details aside, many hockey fans have been livid over the past few months as the Fehr-Bettman duo have deprived them of their favourite Saturday night activity. Many have even said they will boycott the NHL for the rest of the season.

Ethain Arsenault, a fourth-year environmental science student at the U of O and avid hockey fan, signed the Just Drop It petition on Facebook in December. This petition arose from the frustration and sense of powerlessness amongst hockey fans over the prolonged lockout. Just Drop It proposed that for every game after that the league was locked out after Dec. 21, the fans would boycott one game upon its return. As Arsenault points out, this does not mean not watching hockey; it means that for ten games he will not purchase tickets or team merchandise. However, Arsenault did say, “I intend on watching [Montreal Canadiens] games at La Maison as soon as the puck drops!”

Emma Loignaux-Giroux, a third-year U of O student studying French literature, expressed her excitement over the news that the lockout was over.

“A lot of people say that they are looking to boycott the NHL for the rest of the season, [but] I don’t believe them. We are too hockey-crazed here in Canada. I look forward to the drop of the puck!”

Hockey fans can expect a shorter season to begin in mid-January, with all 30 teams expected to play during the much-anticipated opening night of hockey.