It dawned on me that the NHL lockout can be likened to us hockey fans quitting smoking. We’ve gone a few months without now and we’re getting used to it.
The first few weeks were hard. We really wanted a smoke, er, game. But as time passes, it gets easier.
We have more money in our pockets because we don’t need to buy tickets, the Jets’ channel, merchandise, beer and wings and parking. Our lungs are clearer. (Okay, I made that one up.) We have more time with our families and friends. We’ve realized that we cannot only live without hockey, our lives might actually be better.
The problem of course is that we’re still addicts and every once in a while we will backslide because there is still hockey all around us and the ‘fumes’ suck us in.
First it’s just a period or two of Major Junior hockey in the garage after the kids are in bed. It’s like taking a pull on a DuMaurier Extra Light. You don’t even notice it. Then it gets more serious. A road trip out to Brandon for the Wheat Kings. But we justify it. “It was a road trip. The rules are different. It was just a one-off.” Like half a pack of Players Light followed by a pack of Sen Sen.
Then – much like you want to buy one smoke off the guy in the bar for a toonie at 2 a.m. – you find that there’s a Canadian World Jr. hockey game on at, you guessed it, two a.m. And now we’re jonesin’ for the good stuff. A pack of Export “A.” Green Death. And now we’re right back off the wagon.
But wait! Come 2013 there’s no more world class hockey. And seeing as it’s the new year, we make a resolution to go cold turkey. We did it once; we can do it again.
Sure enough, we stop following hockey and we don’t miss it. Our clothes smell better, our breath smells better. Relationships are rekindled.
The NHL and the PA are like Tobacco companies. Their stock is dropping. (Can class-action lawsuits be far off?) Soon they’ll be banned from TV and there products will be hidden from public view.
What’s next? High school kids gathering in designated areas watching the KHL on their smart phones in – 20 C weather.
Rick Loewen writes sports for Spectator Tribune. He spent a year writing for the Free Press before being replaced by Lindor Reynolds; spent two years co-hosting 2 Sports Guys before being replaced by ‘The Red Green Show and spent four years hosting the morning show on AM talk radio before being replaced by… well the station died. Who will replace him next?
Follow him on Twitter: @rickloewen