Since the NHL lockout began two months ago, much of the hockey-loving public’s attention has been focused on who’s right and who’s wrong. Is it the owners being too greedy? Is all this stuff about redefining hockey-related revenue nonsense? Or do they have a point—are the players asking for too much in a time when many teams are struggling to stay in the black?
Of course, lost in this whole struggle is the plight of the little guy. The NHL players aren’t the only ones not getting paychecks these days. All across North American, lots of other people are affected by the work stoppage, too. And frankly, it really sucks. So today, we have for you a run-down of all the people who need these clowns to get back to work as soon as possible. Have a look.
Imagine you own a sports bar or pub and you court local NHL fans—you're business is taking a pretty big hit right now. Sure, there's still the NFL, so as long as business was generally strong before the NHL lockout you'll probably be okay. But you've also probably had to let go of a server or two, and maybe a cook.
And that's assuming you're in the United States. If you're a bar owner in Canada then you are totally freaking out right now. Probably a third of your revenue comes on Saturday nights when hockey fans pack your bar, ordering beer after beer to wash down all those chicken wings and poutine. If the entire season ends up getting cancelled, there goes half your staff.
13. Bar Owners
Showing people to their seats and making sure they don't throw stuff on the ice isn't exactly a glamorous job. But a paycheck is a paycheck, and these people aren't getting any these days.
Maybe these people should just make like the NHL players and go usher in the KHL during the lockout.
12. Stadium Ushers
If you are a really hardcore hockey fan and you just need to see guys one skates pounding each other into the boards and putting the puck in the net, there are options. You've got the European leauges, of course, which have a lot of NHL talent these days. And closer to home there are the minor and junior leagues, which you can catch in person. However, that's not much consolation to ticket scalpers, since the demand to see the Rockford IceHogs isn't quite as high as the demand to see the Chicago Blackhawks.
11. Ticket Scalpers
Did you hear the news? Molson Coors, the Montreal and Denver-based brewing conglomerate, plans to seek financial compensation from the NHL for their losses once all this lockout nonsense is finally resolved. Why? Because they say their sales in Canada have taken a huge hit. They won't say how big, but since they are an official sponsor of the NHL, it's probably quantifiable. And that gives them as legit gripe with the league's head honchos. (That gripe will go something like this: "we pay you money so we can make even more money selling beer. That didn't happen. Give us our money back, Bettman.")
10. Beer Companies
Imagine you spent years in zamboni school, then paid your dues cleaning the ice for junior teams and then minor league teams, and now finally you've made it to the NHL. Only the league has locked out the players, and all your talent and hard work is going to waste. That would suck, right?
Well okay, fine. There probably is no such thing as zamboni school. But still, the folks who drive and maintain the zambonis around the league are out of work right now, and thus without either all or part of their income. And the reason is because a bunch of rich dudes are arguing over who should get more rich.
9. Zamboni Drivers
"Oh, hey guys! Good luck with the whole collective bargaining thing. I really hope you get to keep that 4-7% of the revenue you've been arguing over so that you don't have your $1,500,000 salaries cut by $100,000. That would really affect your quality of life! Me, I just work here at the concession stand because I'm a people person and I have a passion for nachos. I totally don't need the extra income to buy my kids shoes or anything. So you just keep holding out. Besides, everyone's got to sacrifice for the greater good. I'm sure once you players beat the greedy owners you'll be sure to help out the rest of us affected by the lockout. Right? Right?"
8. Food Vendors
"Yo Sidney! Yo Evgeny! How's is going, bros? What's that? Me? No, I'm doing great. There's, like, a ton of people who want to park in this parking lot next to the Consol Energy Center even though there's no hockey going on. Our rates are so reasonable! So no, my income hasn't been affected one iota by the lockout. And even if it were, I would just live off my savings. Most of us parking lot attendants keep five or six grand set aside for a rainy day. So you guys don't worry about us. Fight the good fight!"
7. Parking Lot Attendants
Most of the time we assume that working for a sports team in any capacity would be pretty awesome. And that's probably true, so long as that team is actually playing games. If they're not playing games, then it kind of sucks. Oh sure, the Washington Capitals have promised there would be no layoffs or pay cuts for staff during the lockout, because they don't want it to hurt "the little people." But most teams around the league—such as the Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, and St. Louis Blues—have had to layoff staff and reduce the hours of others. But that's cool. I hear the economy is doing super awesome right now. I'm sure these folks will find new jobs just as awesome as their old ones in no time.
6. Front Officer Staffers
You grew up your whole life dreaming of one day playing in the NHL. And you got pretty close. But after 5 of 6 years playing in the minor leagues, it became pretty clear that you won't become an NHL regular. Yes, you might get a call up here and there, but you're a minor league lifer, and you've accepted that.
However, now that the NHL players are locked out, teams have sent all their young players still under two-way contracts to their minor league affiliates so they continue to develop. And guess what that means for you, the AHL journeyman? That's right, you don't have a job playing hockey any more. Hurray!
5. Minor League Journeymen
You know what's worse than being an AHL journeyman during the NHL lockout? Being a KHL journeyman during the NHL lockout. Sure, the really good KHL players are all safe even though the league is flooded with NHLers. But the guys who were at the bottom of team depth charts? Yeah, their services are no longer need now that guys like Ilya Kovalchuck and Alex Ovechkin are in town.
But hey, Riga, Latvia, is a major port on the Baltic Sea. So if you're the guy who lost a roster spot to Ottawa's Kaspars Daugavins, I'm sure you can find work on a merchant ship or something.
4. KHL Journeymen
Come on, Gary Bettman. Come on, Donald Fehr. Think of the ice girls, won't you? They've trained their whole lives to be able to put on skimpy outfits and skate around the ice pushing snow shovels. Now you're denying them the chance to live out their dreams? Hell, most of the L.A. Kings Ice Crew had to spend hours and hours just learning how to skate. What else are they doing to do with that skill in southern California?
3. The Ice Girls
Every week on Hockey Night in Canada, legendary commentator Don Cherry puts another whacky jacket and goes on camera to babble on about supporting the troops, or how NHL players with concussions are sissies. But of course, during the lockout, he doesn't need the jackets. So what the hell is his taylor supposed to do? Do you really think the guy who makes Don Cherry's jackets actually has other clients? No way, man. Nobody else wants a coat that looks like it was made out of some old lady's curtains. Whoever the guy is, Don Cherry is probably his only customer. So he really needs the NHL to come back soon.
2. Don Cherry's Taylor
In America the sports landscape is a little more diverse. Undoubtedly the NFL is the king, but there is also MLB, the NBA, NASCAR, and college sports. So the loss of hockey isn't felt quite as strongly. The NBA and college football can take you through January. Then there's the Super Bowl, and after that March Madness. Finally, in April, baseball comes back, and that's followed by the NBA finals in June.
In Canada? Sure, they like other sports. But collectively, as a people, they live and breath hockey the way the English live and breath soccer. So what are these people supposed to do all winter if there's no NHL?
Well, the last time there was a lockout, the CBC showed a lot of curling on TV.
Seriously. Curling. On TV. Every week.
So obviously Canadians need the NHL more than anyone.