Jets fans lament in lockout
JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Jets fans showed their support in a memorable return of NHL hockey to the city, but now they're left with nothing to cheer for after a league lockout took effect on Saturday. (BRIAN DONOGH/WINNIPEG SUN FILES)
WINNIPEG - Frankly, any NHL lockout, or walk-out, sucks.
A number of Winnipeg Jets fans don't want to miss out on watching their heroes because NHL owners locked out the players when they could not agree on the details of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the NHL's Sept. 15th deadline.
"It's a little frustrating because it doesn't seem like either side wants to bend," said John Sawicz, a community relations manager. "In the media, it sounds more like the players are trying to bend and the ownership is trying to hold a pretty tough line and making sure the owners are getting a bigger share of the pot. Sometimes, you wonder, 'How much do they need?'
"I understand that some teams are struggling and some teams are struggling quite badly. But when the league's turning a profit of $3.3 billion, why is it you have 10 teams, possibly, that are in the hole?"
"One of the comments the players have made is that they want to sign this new CBA to basically save them (NHL owners) from themselves," Sawicz added. "They're complaining about contract monies and salaries, and they're the ones who are signing contracts. They're the ones that are agreeing to the 17-year contracts that are worth $90 million. If it's such a concern, why did you do it in the first place?
"It kinda sucks."
Jets fans are both frustrated and disappointed.
"It's a sad state of affairs if they can't come to an agreement," said John McMillan, a retired gentleman, who was watching the Jets skate at the MTS Iceplex. "It's going to disappoint a lot of people, particularly here in Winnipeg where we've only had the team back for one year and now, all of a sudden, potentially, we don't have hockey again.
"So, it's a bit disheartening, but it's business so I think they'll resolve it."
Ashleigh Mackling knows nothing about the negotiations, just that she won't be able to cheer on her Jets for a while.
"It's disappointing after our last year in the NHL, for our first season back, it's very disappointing," said the education assistant who was wearing a Jets shirt. "They should come to an agreement, I suppose. But, like I said, I don't know the details of what they're negotiating at all."
Sawicz concurred with those sentiments.
"It's gonna be hard," he said. "The city has fallen in love with the team again and it's not a situation where any of us wants to go through. We all want to see our hockey … (Other local hockey) is not the same as the NHL, and we all have raised expectations that we want to see the best of the best."
Dale Baydock looked at the issue from both points of view.
"I guess you can see reasons (for the disagreement) on both sides," said the local high school teacher. "It's a lot of people with a lot of money trying to figure out what's best for both sides. I guess that's their business. The players have to take care of themselves and the owners have to take care of themselves. It's unfortunate that it's gonna cause a work stoppage, but I guess it is what it is."