A year and five months ago, I was in the audience at Bridgestone Arena where the Predators were playing to clinch Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks. When the last few seconds on the clock ran out, the entire building erupted into one of the biggest celebrations I had ever seen. People were screaming. They were crying. They were hugging one another and jumping up and down. Having never been to a game before I had no allegiance to this team, yet I couldn’t help but feel a bit choked up for what these fans just experienced. They witnessed history being made by these guys they spent an entire season supporting. This was something special.
Fast forward a year and a couple weeks later and I am, once again, in the crowd at Bridgestone Arena watching the Predators clinch Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This time, I was the fan screaming. I was the fan crying. I was the fan jumping up and down, hugging my friends. In this moment I not only witnessed, but participated in the biggest celebration I have ever been a part of. Everything the guys had worked for all year long unfolded right in front of our (the fans) eyes and it was nothing short of extraordinary. Unfortunately, not long after, the Predators run in the Playoffs had come to an end. The only thing that kept my head up during this time was the fact that only a few months stood between me and hockey again, and now that is being threatened.
Where would the NHL be if they didn’t have those fans in the stands? Where would the league be if the players played to an empty arena every night? The NHL wouldn’t be a National Hockey League if it weren’t for those people or the players. Some have said that we, the fans, demanding that the owners and the players come to an agreement and bring us hockey is in some way being selfish; that we need to remember that these peoples’ lives are in the mix as well. And I’ll give them that. They are in the mix. But so are we. The two sides are fighting over money. Who will get what and how much? But we the fans are asking you to TAKE our money. Average people, working 8-5 jobs, some making average or below average income are begging to give these organizations our money and are only asking for one thing in return; hockey. We just want the opportunity to be back in that arena watching these players engage in a sport that they love. We want to be back in that arena cheering them on, screaming and crying and jumping up and down. For the same reasons that the boys play this sport, we love this sport and no one should take that away from them or us, especially on a count of money. I beg the owners desperately to remember during their long talks of how much money they can gain for this; there are people out there working out 12 month budget plans on how much we can GIVE to them if they just give us the opportunity.
- Glynne Blackwell – Learn more about Glynne