By Meesh Shanmugam, Staff Writer
Eight not-so-long years ago, NHL fans embarked on their first full-season lockout. While the issues (how to split billions of dollars) were similar in some ways, the surrounding environment was much different for fans. Most fans relied on ESPN, TSN, and local news outlets for their hockey coverage. The blogger revolution had not taken over the internet quite yet and social media was in its infant stages. If there was lockout news, fans heard it on the morning or evening news, read about it in the newspaper, or caught it on a news website if they happened to go online at the right time.
Now it’s impossible to avoid lockout news or opinions if you partake in social media. Journalists are trying to write about every detail since there is no league to write about. Agents seem insistent on spinning their opinions for the players. Players voice their thoughts quite frequently on the topic. Even fans cry out on a daily basis for the return of the sport…or the death of it.
As the NHL and NHLPA meet for the third straight day and fans get caught somewhere between apathy and hope, consider how social media has affected how you think and feel about the lockout.
Eight years ago, I didn’t put nearly as much thought into the day to day meetings or actions of either side. I was just waiting for news that the league was going to return. Now I have a separate list on twitter of journalists who may break the end of the lockout first and I scan this list every few hours.
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) November 6, 2012
Doesn’t sound like things going well with NHL-NHLPA but doing play by play/making sense of offers we know so little about = mug’s game.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 8, 2012
As you can tell, scanning my list gives me no clear answer anyways. I had just as much solid information 8 years ago when I had no information.
I also had no clue what players thought about the process unless they were interviewed about it. Those interviews were frequently robotic and bland (imagine 700 players talking exactly like Sidney Crosby). Now, players are quite candid and perhaps a little too forward about their lockout thoughts.
I have to skate at 8 am tomorrow. #ThanksGary
— Taylor Hall (@hallsy04) October 7, 2012
What is the NHL’s agenda? To destroy the game of hockey. What a display of “Power”. #BRAVO
— Krys Barch (@krysbarch) October 26, 2012
Skating at 8am sounds like a horrible result of the lockout…unfollow *click*. Destroy the game of hockey…seriously? Unfollow, *click*. There was once a chance I could fully sympathize with the players, but their own words put an end to that.
Meanwhile, agents barely existed to the general public during the last lockout. They still represented the players and were interviewed on occasion, but they never put out their stream-of-consciousness thoughts for the public. Now we have Allan Walsh’s tweets (which are protected, so here’s a link for his full twitter feed), ranging from gems attacking the media like,
“I forgot to mention the next part of the NHL lockout strategy: Get your (ahem) ‘friends’ in the media to loudly predict players cracking”
to attacking Bettman and hockey in the South.
“Bettman’s southern expansion in pursuit of a national TV contract and expansion fee grab started this mess. Now, players pay?”
I miss the old days when I had no clue what Allan Walsh thought. How do you feel about southern expansion, Sunbelt hockey fans?
Finally, you have the overall fan opinion. Did you know that people miss hockey? Did you know that some people now hate the NHL and will walk away forever? (Let’s see what happens with those people if an agreement is made next week.) During the last lockout, fans had nothing to do but move on while their sport went dormant. Now, fans can move on while also talking about it 24/7.
Obligatory “I still miss hockey” tweet
— Charissa S. ⭐ (@Charizardi) November 5, 2012
If the lockout ends now, I’m not watching any NHL hockey. I’ve never been so angry in my life.
— Gabi Fortin-Smith (@GabiFortinSmith) November 2, 2012
All in all, the lockout was miserable 8 years ago and it’s miserable now for hockey fans. Comparing the two circumstances though, I had a much easier time dealing with it 8 years ago without the “help” of social media. For me, misery apparently doesn’t love company, but I am far too immersed in social media to walk away from it. I hope it’s working out better for you!