NHL lockout ends; fans rejoice

Early Sunday morning (January 6, 2013), the NHLPA and the CBA finally reached a peaceful agreement to end the 113-day NHL lockout. This agreement extended an agreement to cover all the way through the 2019-20 season. To reach this agreement, NHLcommissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA chief Donald Fehr had a negotiating marathon for a total of 16 straight hours. As of now, the season is supposed to kick off on January 15th, with a New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins matchup; a rivalry in the Bronx with the Islanders and Rangers facing off; and the Sharks of San Jose and flames of Calgary fighting for their first win. The season has been cut down to 50 games instead of the usual 82, but many fans seem be satisfied with what they are getting. For hockey fans around the nation and world, this was a long-awaited and stressful time period without their beloved hockey season. The biggest disappointment of the lockout by far was the cancellation of the New Year’s Day Winter Classic in “Hockeytown”; a scheduled matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Excited hockey fan and former Elder Hockey Varsity Captain Brian Sexton had some input on the situation, “I’ve checked basically every day since it started to see if progress had been made to end it so I’m happy that it is so close to being officially over. I can’t wait to finally be able to turn on the TV and catch a few games. In my opinion, the worst part of the lockout was the loss of the Winter Classic, my favorite game to watch every year. I’m a big Ovechkin fan, but my favorite team is the Bruins. I’m hoping with the short season, the Caps will get hot early like they have the past few seasons, but won’t have time to burn out by the end of the year and get Ovechkin the Cup he deserves.” Nathan proceded to say how truly excited he was for the upcoming season and how much he missed watching hockey. Stephen Louie, a former hockey star at St. Xavier High School and now at the University of Cincinnati, is happy that he is getting to see his Blue Jackets play this year. Stephen told me he was most disappointed about the cancellation of the All-Star game which would have held in Ohio’s very own Columbus Blue Jackets Stadium. “ The Blue Jackets have been my favorite team since they joined the league in 2000 and while Rick Nash got traded this year to the Rangers, he is still one of my favorite players along with Derick Brassard. The lockout was especially disappointing because it caused Columbus to lose their chance at holding the All-Star game, a much needed event to help hockey prosper not only in the Columbus area, but in all of Ohio.” Stephen is just glad that the NHL reached an agreement so he can enjoy some hockey and see the Blue Jackets play up in Columbus. Hockey fans everywhere rejoice at the end of the lockout, and can’t wait til January15th to watch the first day matchups on television or in the actual arenas. These fans were stuck with watching football and basketball, sports they are not very used to or fond of. The agreement reached will extend through 2019-20, so these loyal hockey fans have nothing to worry about for quite some time. After watching and hearing about all the madness that was the NHL lockout, all I can say is, “Drop the Puck!”