SUN Hockey Pool

Unemployed heroes

SHANE HOLLADAY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:28 AM ET

Hockey heroes Jay Bouwmeester and Eric Brewer landed in the City of Champions yesterday, thrilled with a World Cup win but sobered by NHL job action. Bouwmeester, an Edmonton local who plays for the Florida Panthers, and Edmonton Oiler Brewer arrived on a morning flight from Toronto after Canada eked out a 3-2 World Cup of Hockey win yesterday against Finland.

Teammate Jarome Iginla, who plays for the Calgary Flames, arrived on a later flight yesterday.

"Just winning for your country is great," Brewer said yesterday. "There were so many backers. You take the bus to the rink and people are cheering all over the place.

"It was awesome."

Bouwmeester found himself playing alongside his childhood heroes, he said.

"The whole experience, being on with all those guys," he said. "It was some of the guys you watch growing up. To just be in that room, and get all that experience, and see those guys go about their business."

Both said they knew they would return to the City of Champions only to face a lockout.

The NHL voted yesterday to lock out the players, citing losses last year of $224 million US. Owners claim that loss was due entirely to the collective bargaining agreement they have with the players' union.

The dispute was on everyone's mind during the series, Brewer said.

"We're all ready for it, kind of prepared for it. As the players, we've kind of talked about things and gone over it," he said.

"Hopefully the issues will start to resolve themselves. We want to get it resolved as soon as possible and make it work for both sides."

Right now, he's just hoping to play some hockey.

"If we didn't play this season, it would just be a terrible situation," Brewer said. "Everybody is planning to play at some point - is that being over-positive? I'm not too sure.

"Just the thought of not playing hockey at all would be terrible and can't be good for anybody."

Bouwmeester downplayed concerns on the bench, adding his entire focus in the last weeks has been on the game.

"I don't think anyone there was really too worried about it. You're pretty concentrated on one thing," he said.

"There's nothing you can do about it. You're off whether you like it or not. Nobody's looking for it. Its the way it is and you deal with it. Hopefully things get sorted out."

Oilers fan Doug Zackodnick said nothing good can come out of the labour dispute. "It's going to kill hockey," he said.


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