So at 10AM PST, Gary Bettman, the NHL Commissioner, announced that the 2004-2005 season was officially cancelled due to the labour dispute.
I don’t have much to say about that except that I am disappointed, and disgusted, at what a formerly great league has become.
Like every other Pro league in North America. It’s not about the game anymore, it’s about money.
I, like so many other passionate hockey fans in Canada and the US mourn the loss of this season, but really, we’ve been half expecting this for quite some time. The league has declined… it is no longer as exciting as it once was… there is a sense that players have no loyalty and owners are too willing to give them obscene amounts of money.
There was a time when being in the NHL meant working your butt off and just being thankfull that you got to play in the Greatest League on Earth and for the Greatest Cup in pro sports.
It is somehow fitting (?) that at the same time that we lose our Game for an entire season, we also lose the father of perhaps the greatest hockey family ever.
That man was Louis Sutter… 6 out of his 7 sons played in the NHL. All six played in the NHL in the mid-late 80s, when hockey was at its’ greatest. Now many, if not all are coaching or managing. Mr. Sutter was a simple crop farmer in Viking, Alberta, a town of 1100. His sons all grew up on the farm and understood that to be successful in life you have to work your butt off. None of the Sutters were ever close to being the top payed players… they knew their role, they were respected for it, and they did it extremely well.
I believe that this is what the real NHL fans are mourning. Not the loss of the NHL in 2004-2005, but rather the loss of the basic values that made the NHL great.
My Condolescences to the Sutter family.
(CBC has an excellent article on the Sutter family and funeral yesterday)