hockey lockout will "give us our lives back": Globe writer

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DaveW
hockey lockout will "give us our lives back": Globe writer
DaveW

NHL lockout "a welcome chance at healing"?

... although McGregor's argument displays the usual "missing middle" of high-minded social commentators -- the volition of the people involved --  given that masses of people freely choose to follow hockey (insert other pro sport, usually football, for Europeans or Americans),

it is not something they are duped into doing: so they don't need to be "freed"

....

Think of it as a gift, an opportunity to find new balance in a nation that has, for whatever reasons, come to let its national game matter too much.

How else do you explain that the largest, most powerful generation a country has ever produced, the Baby Boomers, would hold as their most memorable moment – just as a generation of Americans can recall exactly where they were and what they were wearing when President John Kennedy was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 – a puck going into a hockey net in another continent on Sept. 28, 1972?

[... ] It may be no coincidence that eight years ago, when the last NHL lockout was just under way, the CBC held a contest to determine the “Greatest Canadian,” only to see a hockey coach, Don Cherry, finish seventh, ahead of the country’s founding father, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. Wayne Gretzky, a player, came 10th, ahead of Louis Riel, Peter Gzowski, Dr. Norman Bethune, Sir Isaac Brock, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and war hero Billy Bishop.

[...] This owners’ lockout, then – which is scheduled, and pretty much certain, to begin at midnight Saturday – can be seen as a welcome chance at healing rather than the national disaster some would portray it to be.

  

autoworker

I don't care, either way, except for the shovels of public money that subsidize sports palaces, and, indirectly, the millionaire entertainers who perform at these circuses. Should I ever feel inclined to watch rich guys at play, I'll follow polo, or the NFL-- which costs me nothing.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Most of the tickets in Vancouver show up as business expenses on the tax returns of both big and small businesses.  We subsidize those peoples tickets supposedly so that they can convince their cousins and BFF's to buy their services or products.

autoworker

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Most of the tickets in Vancouver show up as business expenses on the tax returns of both big and small businesses.  We subsidize those peoples tickets supposedly so that they can convince their cousins and BFF's to buy their services or products.

...not to mention the corporate boxes. The only times I went to games was when someone gave me their freeloader tickets, but I gladly took them, because I'm shameless!

Bacchus

I felt the same way about Opera or Ballet or Art festivals or any cultural event any branch of government sponsors

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Bacchus wrote:

I felt the same way about Opera or Ballet or Art festivals or any cultural event any branch of government sponsors

Most of those things are run by societies not owned by members of the 1%.  I support societal funding of arts and culture not sports corporations run by misogynist billionaires.

Bacchus

You would be amazed how many of the 1% fund it or own it

6079_Smith_W

@ Bacchus

I have no problem with "the 1%" funding the arts. I expect major organizations like symphony orchestras and public television wouldn't exist in the states without it.

But as for owning festivals and arts groups, I have no idea what you talking about.I know it might seem that way, but I expect that is because many of them are so underfunded that they have to sell naming rights and become the Dairy Queen Arts Festival. And unlike sports, the arts are actually a significant sector of the economy.

As for this lockout, good riddance, and I hope they stay out long enough that I can enjoy the evening news in the spring without interruption. For that matter, if they could talk the CFL into doing the same thing and kill the new statium plans in Regina I'd be even happier.

 

Bacchus

Im afraid sports are also a significant part of the economy. Or does all the people employed by the various teams, venues, vendors selling goods, people working for sports bars, networks etc not count or should they just suffer as willing pawns of the evil 1% owners?

6079_Smith_W

Bacchus,

It's not me putting those poor vendors out of work - it's the league and the players. And given that a number of these sport facilities are non-union I don't think they're all concerned about making sure that the wealth trickles down. Frankly the amount of money in that system is ridiculous, and no, it does not compare to local arts sector organizations. I can't think of anything that might even compare except for the television writers' strike in the states, and even that is a far bigger money machine than theatre, galleries and  festival circuits.

I have a hard time squaring the fact that our premier drives the film industry out of Saskatchewan over an $8 million tax credit, and shuts down a dental/library/medical/grocery facility in downtown Saskatoon for another $8 million, and yet they have no problem spending $80 million and another $100 in loans to build a football stadium we don't even need.

I actually heard someone on the radio saying building the new stadium was a good idea because it will promote fitness. Sorry, aside from the team, the only fitness I can think of is people exercising their beer lifting arms.

Someone likes hockey, fine. But when you have a sport system that is so big that it vitrually takes over universities and colleges, as it does in the states, it is way too big, IMO. And it is not just that it is too big. It is - especially in the case of hockey - a culture built on gruesome violence. After the things that happened last year on the ice I don't care if they ever play again. The league system is certainly nothing I will ever encourage my kids to emulate.

 

Bacchus

Hmm I would agree with you, at least about the states and football.

 

But I just find a lot of this 'im so happy its cancelled' to be somewhat elitist. At least here in Ontario they do the tax credits and breaks for ballet, opera, sports, film industry etc

onlinediscountanvils

Bacchus wrote:
But I just find a lot of this 'im so happy its cancelled' to be somewhat elitist.

 

While I'll never celebrate workers being locked-out, hockey will have to be gone a long time before I'll start to miss it. But I do agree with you on the elitist thing. The cultural hegemony of hockey really bugs me, but a lot of people get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and I don't like seeing that taken from them.

Unionist

The Québec labour relations board turned down the players' request for an injunction against what they claim is an illegal lockout under our laws, but it's not a final decision. They will hear the matter fully on its merits. If the players win, I expect that they'll have to be paid in full for all time improperly locked out.

In 1995, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that an NBA lockout of basketball refs was unlawful (at least in Ontario), and ordered the NBA to stop using scab refs. Of course, Ontario law then banned the use of scabs during lawful strikes or lockouts, which was later repealed by Mike Harris's regime. Still, the declaration of illegal lockout would still hold (on my reading) under today's law - and maybe would be applicable to the NHL situation as well. The 1995 decision is [url=http://www.yorku.ca/ddoorey/lawblog/wp-content/files/NBA-Referees-Case3.....

I thought I heard of an illegal lockout application in another province... maybe I missed a post here or something... anyone know?

 

6079_Smith_W

Except that hockey hasn't GONE anywhere. I think the Saskatoon Blades have a season coming up, and I expect I'll be pulling my skates on this winter, though I don't play hockey. And if it looks like the season will get cancelled what do you expect the players will spend this winter doing?

All we're seeing here is the fallout from a sport empire that might just perhaps have gotten a little bit too bloated for its own good. I also don't like seeing Hollywood studios throwing their weight around when it comes to copyright law and invasion of priivacy; that doesn't mean I don't like cinema.

If we want to talk about elitism, this might get a few more people to go watch the real thing up close and local, rather than spending all their money and time staring at the millionaire sluggofest on TV. So Don Cherry's tailor is going to have to pound the pavement a bit? I'm not all that sorry.

 

Bärlüer

Unionist wrote:

The Québec labour relations board turned down the players' request for an injunction against what they claim is an illegal lockout under our laws, but it's not a final decision. They will hear the matter fully on its merits. If the players win, I expect that they'll have to be paid in full for all time improperly locked out.

In 1995, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that an NBA lockout of basketball refs was unlawful (at least in Ontario), and ordered the NBA to stop using scab refs. Of course, Ontario law then banned the use of scabs during lawful strikes or lockouts, which was later repealed by Mike Harris's regime. Still, the declaration of illegal lockout would still hold (on my reading) under today's law - and maybe would be applicable to the NHL situation as well. The 1995 decision is [url=http://www.yorku.ca/ddoorey/lawblog/wp-content/files/NBA-Referees-Case3.....

I thought I heard of an illegal lockout application in another province... maybe I missed a post here or something... anyone know?

My recollection is that there might be applications in Alberta. And maybe another province.

The difference, though, between those provinces and Quebec, is that the Quebec labour regime, as you very well know, is entirely founded upon certified (that is, by the Commission des relations du travail) associations of employees, whereas all other provinces allow for voluntary recognition of unions. So the specific provisions that can be relied upon in Quebec to have the lock-out declared illegal (that is, there is no certified association of employees, therefore the employees cannot acquire the right to strike and the employer, correlatively, cannot acquire the right to lock-out) do not exist in other provincial jurisdictions. However, in some of the other provinces, there might be other legal requirements that have to be satistifed in order for the right to lock-out to be acquired that might not have been met in the particular circumstances of the case (for example: compulsory mediation, etc.).

ETA: BTW, the actual reasons of the commissaire for rejecting the "provisional order" application haven't been provided yet. My guess is that the decision doesn't turn on the actual legality of the lock-out per the Quebec Labour Code, but rather on the (general) criteria for issuing injunctions.

Unionist

Yes, to your last point, it might be difficult for professional hockey players to demonstrate urgency and irreparable damage, even if they have colour of right.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

This is bringing back fond memories of the last hockey lockout... you know, the one where CBC ran movies actually released in the same decade as we are (were) inhabiting and they actually saw a boost in their ratings over what they had when they were showing hockey games.

I also see a spin off benefit... not having to work alongside (and pick up the slack) for people who spend significant portions of each day going over and refining their "fantasy" hockey pool teams... [and the fact the middle-management types were the worst offenders just adds icing to the cake].

The final silver lining will be a major reduction in traffic congestion around the Saddledome [which, if I want groceries on game night, means I have to run the gauntlet to get to my home... the nearest supermarkets are both on the "other" side of the dome... and 4km is a little far to lug a week's shopping home...]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I haven't watched hockey since the days of the original six teams. Them were the days. Why Phoenix - in the middle of the desert - has an NHL team, I will never understand.

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Except that hockey hasn't GONE anywhere. I think the Saskatoon Blades have a season coming up, and I expect I'll be pulling my skates on this winter, though I don't play hockey. And if it looks like the season will get cancelled what do you expect the players will spend this winter doing?[...]

If we want to talk about elitism, this might get a few more people to go watch the real thing up close and local, rather than spending all their money and time staring at the millionaire sluggofest on TV.

 

Right, hockey is still being played, obviously. I thought my reference to the lockout would be enough to indicate that I was referring to the NHL. The junior leagues and international leagues are fine, but I don't think it can quite replace what many people enjoy about the NHL.

As for spending all their money on the millionaire's game... my experience has been that it's actually cheaper and easier to follow the NHL than it is to follow junior hockey. For the years that I was really into the NHL, it was precisely because we were poor. The over-the-air tv and radio broadcasts, and the hours of pre and post game commentary were among the few pastimes that my family could afford. I couldn't tell you how much tickets to see the local junior teams were 20 years ago, but it was more than we could afford - much more expensive than the cost of electricity to run our radios for a whole season. And I suspect the current price of $15/adult is still out of the reach for a good chunk of the population that follows the NHL without necessarily attending games or subscribing to expensive cable packages.

6079_Smith_W

I don't even watch the game and I know that's not quite true. They broadcast regional hockey on radio AND television, and according to CBC Radio this morning TSN will be broadcasting even more of it in the event the NHL cancels. Not quite the same number of brain injuries and neck slashes of course, but on the bright side, they do pay some attention to actually getting the puck down the ice.

Again, I'm not the one pissing on the party; it's the people running the very show some people here apparenlty can't manage to live without. I just happen to side with those - including many hockey fans -  who think the proper response might be to tune out, and let them see how long their bundles of cash last.

Sorry. there are other options - plenty of them.

 

 

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I don't even watch the game and I know that's not quite true. They broadcast regional hockey on radio AND television, and according to CBC Radio this morning TSN will be broadcasting even more of it in the event the NHL cancels.

What's not true? I don't know what TV options you have in Saskatchewan, but to get TSN here it's a minimum of $40/month with Bell, and $65/month with Rogers. HNIC is available over the air, as are the radio broadcasts. To get the station that broadcasts the 67's it's $42/month with Rogers. I don't think those games are even available with Bell. Sorry, I know what I'm talking about here 'cause I lived it. Unless you're only talking about the cost of tickets to attend games in person, the NHL is simply more accessible when you're poor. And that's without even touching on the fact that these are apples and oranges.

6079_Smith_W

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

HNIC is available over the air, as are the radio broadcasts.

There is no "over the air" TV anymore, unless you have a digital receiver and happen to live in a city with a CBC station. I do not. Cable is the only thing there is, and unless you happen to be grandfathered because you had an antennae, you are going to have to pay that $40 in order to use your TV for anything other than a paperweight.

And I don't know about where you live, but you can get local hockey games over the radio here. Radio bingo, too.

Feel free to continue with this nickel and dime argument that the NHL is somehow better than local hockey because it is cheaper. Sorry, but I have a hard time believing it.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

"Sorry," he's not saying that the NHL is "better" because it's cheaper. He's saying that if you have low income, you are more likely to follow the NHL than minor-league hockey, because it is cheaper and easier to do so. In my experience, this is absolutely true, notwithstanding the small pockets of accessible minor-league hockey in some places in Canada. Some cities in Canada have cheap and enjoyable restaurants, some of which may even be patronized by low-income people. Guess what? As a general rule, they are still far more likely to eat at McDonald's.

6079_Smith_W

Actually, CF, I think that whole argument is moot (and bullshit) because even if you believe that there is a legion of people still getting their TV from antennae (and I know that isn't true) the local games are still available on TV in those sport bars that are apparently going to be run out of business because this bloated juggernaut is walking itself off a cliff. Seems to me that poor deprived hockey fans not having enough pennies to afford cable will actually help them sell more beer and chips, no?

I think this has far more to do with hockey addicts not wanting to accept that there is life outside the NHL. This millionaire shit-slinging fight is actually an anti-poverty issue? Come on. I've seen more than my share of stretched reality in some arguments, but this is ridiculous.

(edit)

And really, we could make the very same argument in favour of something like the tar sands industry (or, as you say, McDonalds). I'm not interested in doing that.  As it is we're going to have to put up with  these people jonesing in the media for however many months this thing goes on. I have no desire to enable them.

 

 

Bacchus

Actually quite a few people use antennas now, I have at least 3 friends that just started doing that now. Mostly becuase the HD is far superior to that you get on cable

6079_Smith_W

Bacchus wrote:

Actually quite a few people use antennas now, I have at least 3 friends that just started doing that now. Mostly becuase the HD is far superior to that you get on cable

Yes, well that's another issue with which I am intimately acquainted, and I would have been happier if your friends had figured that out a few years ago. It's not any news to me that broadcast is superior to cable. Even so,  it's still no good to anyone outside of a city with a television station. All that infrastructure is being torn down.

 

/drift

 

 

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
even if you believe that there is a legion of people still getting their TV from antennae (and I know that isn't true) the local games are still available on TV in those sport bars that are apparently going to be run out of business because this bloated juggernaut is walking itself off a cliff. Seems to me that poor deprived hockey fans not having enough pennies to afford cable will actually help them sell more beer and chips, no?

6079_Smith_W wrote:
This millionaire shit-slinging fight is actually an anti-poverty issue?

 

When I say "over-the-air", I'm referring to digital over-the-air transmission - not people with antennas. You already know this. You made this point yourself in #22.

Now you're implying that sports bar are an accessible alternative for those who can't afford to pay for cable or game tickets? I don't know how sports bars work in Saskatoon, but the ones I've been to in other cities don't just let people walk in and park themselves in front of their TVs for three hours unless they're buying food or drinks. Heading out to watch a game at a sports bar isn't any more affordable than the other options.

I agreed with Bacchus that there's a hint of elitism behind some of the 'good riddance' comments. I don't think that's the same as saying it's an anti-poverty issue.

And you understand why junior hockey isn't a "millionaire shit-slinging fight", right? It's because - unlike the NHL - until now they haven't had a union, and the players aren't paid for their labour.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Can you point to the post in this thread where someone said the lockout is an anti-poverty issue, Winston? I can't find it.

Of course, I agree with you that the NHL-or-nothing mentality is unfortunate and speaks to our general value system which is organized around corporate culture, spectacle and easy access rather than something which might equally see skill and beauty in amateur sport. I admire those who put extra effort and arguably money into following minor-league sport (I have a special place in my heart for minor-league baseball) the same way I admire those who eschew mainstream music for the slightly more obscure/subversive (of course, Adorno would say that such people are deluded in their subversion and are actually more insidious and damaging than those who embrace bubblegum culture and sport as such. [/cultural studies 101]).

6079_Smith_W

You know, I don't believe this television access argument at all. I don't know ANYONE other than myself who had a television, but did not have cable; so I hardly think we are talking about a huge demographic. And really, when there is a game going on, try going into ANY bar, any fast food place with a TV, or even the Co-op, and guess what the channel the TV is turned to - sport.

I simply do not buy it. Sorry. Not with the way big time sport dominates pretty much everything about our culture and to a certain degree, our politics. And no. I don't like professional hockey. You want to watch it, fine. But I have nothing good to say about the NHL, especially given the way that violence is promoted as part of the show.

And as for those poor non-unionized players in other leagues, seems to me they do have the option of organizing if they want to. And as for how much better the NHL is, tell that to the unionized workers who were shut out when the WInnipeg Arena shut down, and the franchise re-opened in a new facility.

But the bottom line is I am not the one doing this to you. I'd say anyone pissed off about my sentiments might want to direct their frustration elsewhere.

(edit)

Cross-posted with you CF

I guess I am confused. Maybe you can clarify why you mentioned that this is an issue of significance to low-income people. And we already have an argument on the table that the NHL hockey is important as a cheap alternative because some people can't afford cable or to go into restaurants and bars. 

 

 

 

Bacchus

Actually most fast food places here in Toronto have their tvs set to that CP24 scrolling news/weather/traffic channel that doesnt require sound

Bacchus

Sounds more like you are the guy getting pissed off Winston, and twisting arguments.

 

Just saying

 

I got no real oar in this boat since I don't follow hockey and ( aside from my dad taking me to a few leafs games and the stanley cup win when I was a child) have been to exactly one game in the last 40 years, because I was given free tickets for my birthday (would have preferred a gift certificate to chapters but eh)

6079_Smith_W

It's too bad al'Q isn't here to weigh in on this, even though I don't think he'd agree with me. Nobody has even started a thread on this in the other place.

 

Bacchus

Are there enough people to have a conversation there?  I see very few poster there these days (not that this place a huge improvement on that either nor BnR)

 

I kind of wish the software would automatically put me on the last page if Ive been to a thread before

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I simply do not buy it. Sorry. Not with the way big time sport dominates pretty much everything about our culture and to a certain degree, our politics. And no. I don't like professional hockey. You want to watch it, fine. But I have nothing good to say about the NHL, especially given the way that violence is promoted as part of the show.

And as for those poor non-unionized players in other leagues, seems to me they do have the option of organizing if they want to. And as for how much better the NHL is, tell that to the unionized workers who were shut out when the WInnipeg Arena shut down, and the franchise re-opened in a new facility.

That about sums up my view as well, for what it's worth (ps I have no opinion on the cable vs. antenna debate). Blood sports and beer, provided for profit by the billionaires to the masses, don't tickle my fancy. Collateral damage is another matter.

 

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I don't know ANYONE other than myself who had a television, but did not have cable

 

Almost everyone I know owns a television. Very few of them have cable. Many of them are poor.

Bacchus

I come across the same elitism regarding internet access or cellphone ownage

6079_Smith_W

@ Bacchus #31

Well perhaps, my dear, you should think twice before calling other people's arguments elitist. You'd probably get a bit pissed off too.

As for twisting arguments, I am not sure what you mean. If you or others want to watch hockey, fine. I really dislike it, but I am not the one who wrecked this season for you.

If I seem a bit testy it may also be because there was a news report not too long ago identifying Saskatoon as another place the NHL might want to put a tap in the vein for another one of their teams.Sorry, but we still have hungry people in this town with no place to buy food.

Plus, I remember being in WInnipeg when the Jets left, and that was quite enough high drama over nothing for one lifetime.

And of course, I already mentioned the shit that is going down in Regina, even though they can't afford to keep their city infrastructure in repair. They're discussing it at a council meeting right now, as a matter of fact.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about. What do you mean by elitist?

I don't like big  professional sports franchises because I find it (in the case of the NHL) extremely violent, and I find it outrageous that such a multi-million dollar industry is a political priority when people are going hungry, and I question why Canada's teams are letting themselves be led along by the nose by the sport mania and a vastly more inflated market in the States.

Just one example:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/disappointe...

Some people here like hockey. I just happen to think we would be better off without the NHL as it is, and I have good reasons for saying so. How is that elitist?

 

 

Bacchus

The Elitist part is the "there are no people with tvs and not cable, it just doesnt happen"

 

Obviously you have never met any poor people or the social set in your area provides free cable

6079_Smith_W

Actually Bacchus, you first called my argument elitist back at #11, before we even started talking about hockey broadcasts, and the apparently overriding question of who has access to cable TV, and can get into bars.

Geez, I never thought about it before but I guess it's a good thing I don't live in Regina. I imagine they must be hauling the bodies away in carts when the Riders play at Taylor Field and there is a broadcast ban.

 

 

Bacchus

I can hear the weeping in the Vaughn sports bar from here (Im in Etobicoke but the biggest sports bar in the GTA is WEGZ in Vaughn)

 

And actually the elitist point was not towards you in post 11, but the posts before my "I feel the same about the opera' post. Where in Toronto, all the Opera, ballet and concert places are generally corporate owned which a few exceptions

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm on Bell ExpressVu - satellite TV - and, aside from added movie channels, my channel line-up is basic - but it also includes about seven NHL channels that I never asked for and which I don't want.

6079_Smith_W

Bacchus wrote:

Where in Toronto, all the Opera, ballet and concert places are generally corporate owned which a few exceptions

Now you're going to have to bring me up to speed on that. Who exactly is raking in all the dough from the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet? 

This is all I could find about the company's corporate structure, and there is a link to the Four Seasons Centre:

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/emc/canadian-opera-company

How does this compare to the most profiitable team in the NHL? According to one list I found their annual budget was $141Million. That's about 10 times larger than the opera's annual budget.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2011/11/30/forbes_nhl/

Do you think it is worth comparing some of the salaries?

autoworker

The arts might sell more merchandise: a Die Fledermaus t-shirt and cap (worn backwards) may be preferable to the emblematic masochism displayed by Leaf's fans. Should the NHL season be cancelled, not to worry, the Leafs will be just as bad next year. Meanwhile, they should enjoy the hiatus from self-flagellation, and acquire some refined culture.

6079_Smith_W

Good idea, though I think there's a bigger fledermaus on the market already:

autoworker

That's a howl!

Unionist

My coffee just went the wrong way... thanks Winston!

And Bacchus... if the corporations were really to be thanked for bringing us the classical arts, I might actually forgive them the blood sports.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

autoworker

Sibling rivalry!

Unionist

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