Give the official word

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Mike Cvik won't exactly be happy when the NHL cancels the season.

However, the Calgarian who's spent the last 19 seasons working as a linesman would enjoy turning the page.

Cvik, like the more than 80 other on-ice officials, finds himself currently out of work while the league is in lockout mode.

If Gary Bettman finally does pull the plug, which is expected to happen tomorrow, Cvik has a better chance at being gainfully employed.

"I've sent out lots of applications but people I've talked to have said to me, 'We'd like to hire you but what happens if they sign a deal? What are you going to do?,' " Cvik said. "Of course I'm going to go back so they don't want to invest time and money into somebody that might be here a week, two weeks, six months. The six months they might be able to handle but for the shorter term it doesn't work.

"The frustrating part is you've got to pay bills and do all those lovely things you need to do but you can't go out and get a job because of the uncertainty."

Cvik and his wife Linda have four daughters, ranging in age from 15 months to 19 years old, so while the millionaires and billionaires have argued ad nauseum about how to fairly split up a $2-billion pie, the officials -- who agreed as a union to not ply their trade in other leagues during the dispute -- are like so many others caught in the middle.

And, like Cvik and his large family, are looking for other ways to make ends meet.

"The hair care products alone are killing us," joked Cvik. "One way or another, it'd be nice to have a decision and know if we're going to have a season. Everybody would like to know if they should hang on or get on with their life and support their families."

Lyle Seitz, who's spent 13 seasons breaking up fights and calling offsides, among all the other duties in NHL rinks across the continent, has used the lockout as a chance to work a growing business.

Part owner of Professional Skate Service and Seitzco Motorsports in Okotoks, Seitz has been around to help his partners, Josh Esler and former Flames forward Jeff Shantz, expand Professional Skate Service.

"My family, we grew up on a farm and survival meant everything," Seitz said. "After 13 years in the NHL, I've never sat back and said 'I'm taking the summer off.' I'm not a big traveller and would come home and work on the farm and then got into other stuff.

"Three years ago, when we signed the contract we're presently on, the reality was the writing was on the wall for this to happen. I'd seen the light at the end of the tunnel, so I stepped it up even more.

"Once you start getting going in something, it seems to snowball. You get connections and it seems to never end. For me, it's been extremely busy."

Especially since he and wife Wanda have three children.

"This has given me a perspective in two ways," Seitz said. "One is the real world outside of hockey and the other is the family life. To be home with the kids and to see what my wife goes through when I'm gone, I've got to give her huge credit. It's been a dose of reality."

Plus, the lockout has started to take a toll on the business venture.

"Our business has been hurt because of the lack of NHL," Seitz explained. "We don't have Jarome Iginla using the new Easton one-piece stick or Joe Sakic using this or that and that's our biggest marketing tool. All the new stuff's coming out in two months and we used to get customers coming in asking about all the new things but we don't have any of that going on. We stayed really strong through Christmas but now we're starting to see the slowing-down effect."

An effect that may last even longer.

Those words of NHL armageddon seemed over the top a year ago but considering both the owners and players remain firmly entrenched with their philosophical differences, it appears the fight could be far from over.

Which has Cvik thinking about putting away his whistle for good.

"Euphoria right now is us back on the ice in September," he said. "If they cancel the season now, whenever they talk or if they talk, they probably won't do it until September and those same issues need to be dealt with then that they're not dealing with now.

"I don't know how anybody else is but it's become a little bit of a strain on this end and it's not fun. I've been around for 19 years, done the travelling around thing, and being at home with a 15-month-old is a lot of fun. If the right thing comes along and I'm happy with it and I can stay home on weekends and evenings after working Monday through Friday, I wouldn't have any reservations.

"I've had a good run, did the Olympics in 2002, don't need to prove anything to anybody or myself, so I'll be happy to be with my family and be done with this."


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