SUN Hockey Pool

Most bets are off

JACK BOLAND -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:53 AM ET

It's now cold turkey time for gamblers and TV clicker kings looking to get their fix of NHL hockey. As NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the lockout from New York yesterday, disgruntled hockey fans gnashed their teeth over the coming winter of discontent.

OPTIONS DWINDLED

For gambling junkies their sports betting options have dwindled to U.S. college hoops, soccer during the week with a reprise on football of the NFL, U.S. college and CFL variety reserved for the weekend.

"Hockey makes up half of the wagers on Pro-Line. The impact will depend on how long the lockout goes," said Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. spokesman Teresa Roncon. "But we are hoping people play some of our other games."

Some hockey fans like Brian "Moose" Whitaker, of the Beaches, said he'll have to break the Hab-it of tuning in his beloved Montreal Canadiens and rekindle his love of the Toronto Rock and Sunday afternoon gambling on the NFL.

"This was the only thing I really looked forward to was watching Soiree du Hockey on Saturday," said Whitaker, who is originally from Montreal.

Other hockey fans like Andrew Graudins said jokingly he will focus on honing his meagre pick-up game skills, but got serious saying he hopes the lockout causes the ouster of "the Bettman regime."

'SPIN DOCTORS'

"This guy has tried to stuff hockey down the throats of Americans for years," Graudins said. "I mean bowling and dog shows beat out hockey in the TV ratings no matter what the NHL spin doctors say."

During the 2003-04 NHL season 20 of the 30 NHL franchises lost revenue totalling $224 million U.S.


Videos

Photos