September 29, 2012
Fans unleash their anger by thousands in lockout poll
By TIM BAINES, QMI Agency
Part 1 of 2
If the NHL thinks it’s at war only with its players, the league had better start paying attention to fed-up fans.
A Sun Media online poll shows that fans are mad as hell ... and apparently not going to take it anymore.
With the lockout entering its second weekend, fans reacted with anger over a dispute between the NHL and NHLPA that shows little sign of being resolved.
With more than 12,000 fans responding to our poll, nearly 62% said they have had enough of this drama and will watch less hockey when the players return to the ice. The remainder decided they loved hockey too much to hold a grudge.
It’s hard to blame the disgruntled fans. There have been three lockouts under commissioner Gary Bettman’s watch, the most recent in 2004-05, sidelining the league for a year.
When it comes down to it, fans, many of whom have to pinch pennies to take care of such “little” things as making mortgage payments and paying grocery bills, have a hard time relating to a war between millionaires and billionaires. Both sides, our poll shows, are at fault.
But many fans still vent at the crusty owners who pull Bettman’s strings.
Yes, owners, we remember the last settlement when you privately crowed that you took the players to the woodshed. In the wake of the agreement, the commish promised reductions in ticket prices. Sure enough, a few years later, fans are paying the price for the owners’ stupidity and irresponsibility.
Players don’t get off the hook, either. When asked if player contracts should be guaranteed, more than 66% of those responding said teams should be able to dump players in the middle of their contracts. After all, that’s exactly what they do in the NFL. Ouch!
Here’s a sampling of the fan anger:
“I’m 55 and have been watching hockey since I was seven ... 48 years (Bruins first 20, Leafs last 28), usually with family and friends. I/we will never again go to Toronto or Buffalo unless the ticket is free. I will watch less games, much less, if any! I’m disgusted at what I’m hearing from both sides. Total disregard for those who work at the arenas and surrounding areas and of course us fans, again ... Shame on me, a fan!!!!”
We asked what is the reasonable amount to pay a superstar player. More than 50% said $5 million was fair. Problem with that is fans will pay to see Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and the Sedins of the world, but should they draw the same salary as Ales Hemsky and Brian Gionta?
The poll reveals other interesting findings.
Fans think the Vancouver Canucks will perform the best of any Canadian team once teams return to the ice (assuming they do), but the young, exciting Edmonton Oilers have risen to second.
A bit more than 41% of fans say they will watch more football during the lockout, while a surprisingly low number of 4.14% will watch more hoops.
Oh, and the New York Rangers are apparently the choice to win the Stanley Cup. Perhaps in some kind of lockout-induced trauma, 6.97% picked the Toronto Maple Leafs to hoist Lord Stanley’s chalice.
Yes, it is okay to dream.
Who do you blame most for the lockout?
Both sides 57% (7,319)
Greedy owners 28% (3,603)
Greedy players 15% (1,895)
What is a reasonable amount to pay an NHL superstar?
$5 million a year 58% (7,089)
$1 million a year 24% (3,004)
No limit 10% (1,243)
$10 million a year 8% (958)
Should NHL contracts be guaranteed or should owners be able to walk away from deals with underperformers as is the case with the NFL?
If a player doesn’t perform, owners can dump them 66% (8,108)
A deal is a deal and the owners need to guarantee the money 34% (4,152)
During the lockout, I’ll watch more ...
Football 41% (4,747)
Junior hockey 35% (4,047)
AHL hockey 14% (1,543)
Soccer 6% (700)
Basketball 4% (477)
If the season is lost, how will it affect you as a fan?
I have had enough of this and I will watch less hockey 62% (7,437)
I will be ticked off, but I will go to games when they come back and watch on TV. I will always love hockey. 38% (4,568)
If the NHL comes back this season, who will be the best Canadian team?
Vancouver 45% (5,330)
Edmonton 18% (2,078)
Ottawa 13% (1,530)
Toronto 8% (948)
Winnipeg 7% (822)
Montreal 5% (637)
Calgary 4% (425)
If the NHL comes back this season, who will win the Stanley Cup?
New York Rangers 26% (2,777)
Pittsburgh 25% (2,662)
Los Angeles 11% (1,145)
Vancouver 10% (1,010)
Other 9% (923)
Boston 8% (802)
Toronto 7% (734)
Detroit 4% (473)
If the NHL comes back this season, who will be the best player?
Sidney Crosby 57% (5,893)
Evgeni Malkin 17% (1,812)
Taylor Hall 10% (985)
Other 5% (531)
Alexander Ovechkin 5% (478)
One of the Sedins 4% (440)
Zdeno Chara 2% (245)
If the NHL comes back this season, who will be the best goalie?
Henrik Lundqvist 31% (3,313)
Jonathan Quick 29% (3,112)
Carey Price 11% (1,097)
Cory Schneider 10% (1,052)
Pekka Rinne 9% (941)
Martin Brodeur 5% (496)
Other 3% (318)
Mike Smith 2% (240)