By Meesh Shanmugam, Staff Writer
In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross debuted what is now known as the Kubler-Ross model, or by its more common name: The Five Stages of Grief. While the model was initially introduced to discuss the subjects of death and dying, society has used it for the loss of anything from one’s life. Unfortunately for the readers of the Sunbelt Hockey Journal, we have all recently lost something significant in our lives – the NHL.
As we proceed through the first week of the lockout, everything we know about the hockey universe is changing. Players are leaving for the KHL, stars are being sent down to the AHL, and even mascots are not safe as Stanley C. Panther was recently let go by the Florida Panthers. Many fans are truly grief-stricken as they try to adapt to a world without their favorite sport and hobby. For some, it has even changed their current employment status or their future job aspirations.
With all of the doom and gloom going around the NHL, what category do you fit under for the five stages of grief?
“Oh, there’s no way an NHL lockout will happen.”
“The players and owners would never risk missing games again after the last lockout!”
“Who cares if the deadline has passed, there’s still plenty of time to come up with a deal.”
Sound familiar? You might be in lockout denial. Most fans spent the summer in this stage, thinking hopefully that the NHL and NHLPA would come to an agreement before the September 15th deadline. Now that the deadline has come and gone, a few fans still remain here. After all, training camp hasn’t been cancelled yet, preseason games haven’t been missed yet, and no regular season games have been cancelled yet! Of course the lockout will be over before those things happen!
“Screw Gary Bettman, he ruined hockey AGAIN!”
“The players and owners are too greedy; this isn’t fair to the fans and employees!!”
“I’M DONE WITH THE NHL!”
Welcome to Stage 2 – anger. Most fans are currently in this stage of grief since the CBA deadline passed just days ago. Anger is projected at pretty much everyone, led by Gary Bettman as everyone’s favorite scapegoat. The players, owners, and Donald Fehr certainly get their share of wrath as well though. They all really deserve it, don’t they? It’s their fault that we can’t watch hockey, they are the reason there is an NHL lockout, and they are the ones keeping us from enjoying the NHL!!!
(*not to be confused with what the NHL and NHLPA have failed to do)
“I don’t even need training camp or preseason, just start on time.”
“We don’t need to make the playoffs this year as long as there is hockey.”
“I’ll sacrifice two puppies and a kitten if we can just have the NHL back.”
If you have moved on past anger, you are likely ready to play “Let’s Make a Deal” to get the NHL back in your life. The NHL is so valuable to all of us as a hobby, distraction, job, or obsession. Really, is there anything more valuable than the NHL? It’s time we collectively give up everything to bring back the sport and league we love so much. Forego that new house, the players and owners need more money to play! Forget those concert tickets; you’d give up every concert for the rest of your life to go to another NHL game, right!?! Let’s get rid of all these children running around; they just keep us from paying for NHL merchandise anyways!
“The players and owners won’t even talk, it’s useless.”
“What is my life without hockey; I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore.”
“My life is sad and hopeless until the NHL comes back.”
Once fans realize that their first-born children will not bring back the NHL, the onset of depression may occur. This is a tough one to judge since the NHL affects all of our lives to varying degrees and in different ways. But really, the NHL does affect all of us. Now it affects us in a negative way. Honestly, why are you even reading this anymore – there is no point without the NHL. This whole site is pointless. Everything we do is futile now.
“There are alternatives to the NHL; I can watch the KHL or AHL.”
“I don’t need the NHL right now; I can focus on school, work, or finding a relationship.”
“The lockout is upon us and I will take it in stride.”
After an agonizing trip through the previous four stages, NHL fans will finally reach the last stage – acceptance. Fans will come to terms with the NHL lockout and find a way to move forward. It’s true, there is an NHL lockout. But we can handle this lockout and we will be stronger for dealing with it. Everything will be fine. It’s time to learn about the KHL, AHL, and other leagues, broaden our hockey horizons, and become better hockey fans because we will endure through the NHL lockout!
Be very careful with the 5 stages of grief because you may not pass through all of them in order. It is possible to get to bargaining and then fall back to anger, or jump from denial straight to depression. In the end though, we will all reach acceptance. We are currently in the midst of an NHL lockout. We will survive the lockout. We shall continue on for the sport of hockey that we love so dearly.