In approximately five weeks I have to figure out what I’m going to do with myself on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. For the third time in eighteen years the NHL may lock out their players on September 15th and I have to prepare for life without hockey.
In 1994 I was too busy with real life to care. It was my last year in college. I was engaged. My grades weren’t the best. I was working full time and struggling to both keep up with my studies and balance work, school, a fiancée and fun. Not good times.
In 2004 I was heartbroken there wouldn’t be NHL hockey but I had a fallback. We still had minor league hockey, and I ended up watching more San Diego Gulls games in person than I did in previous years.
Now that it’s 2012 things are different. San Diego hasn’t had minor league hockey in six years, and the closest ECHL team is about a two-hour drive away and affiliated with the Los Angeles Kings, whose ownership I loathe.
What’s a fan to do? Stay away. And this time around I may never come back since there are more programming options on cable television than ever before.
Will I disown the Leafs and the NHL if the league locks out the players? Ever since baseball had the audacity to cancel the World Series in 1994 I haven’t attended a game unless someone else bought the ticket, so anything’s possible.
We’ll see what happens on September 15th and the days afterward.