Well, I guess it is going to happen. An NHL shutdown is coming. The NHL is stuck in CBA negotiations which are going nowhere and the owners seem oblivious to the disaster looming around the corner. When I speak of disaster; I speak of financial disaster. The battle between millionaires and billionaires is headed to a meltdown which will impact thousands of workers and business owners throughout the league.
NHL fans may feel ripped off by the sloppy handling of this economically sensitive matter but the real victims will be anyone who makes their living from the world’s fastest sport.
I was in downtown Montreal yesterday and I could easily see the budding problem of the pending shutdown of the NHL. At this time of the year the newspapers should be screaming rumours and reports from the Habs front office but everything is quiet. Jerseys of the Canadiens should be in every store window but instead Montrealers have to be satisfied with NFL gear.
Sales of Canadiens souvenirs and jerseys are in free fall and no one seems to even care that the Habs are not around. I went to one of the local bars and had a chat with a talkative barman. He told me his watering hole will see a 60% drop in business if and when the NHL troubles begin. The place I chose was four blocks away from the Bell Center so you can imagine that the problems caused from an NHL shutdown will be bigger for any business closer to the center of the action.
The collateral damage from the NHL CBA collapse should be evident to any NHL owner. Stadium workers, team support staff, restaurant/bar owners and staff, swag sellers, ect….will all be dramatically impacted by this problem. Wages and profits will go by the boards and communities like Montreal will be severely impacted. The same people who support the NHL players and owners with their efforts will be the first to get hurt. This monumental lack of respect and understanding just goes to show you how disconnected the owners have become. They think they are just like the NFL owners but their TV deal and the demographics of their fan base should make it clear to them that the leagues are like apples and oranges. It is a sad state of affairs for everyone. There are no winners here.