The NHL… Just the sound of it brings alive passion for millions of fans and brings out the beast in some of us. Hockey plays a part of our lives that injects itself into our every day conversations and at times controls our actions. It even makes many of us feel like we are part owners. For the first time the future of this hallowed game is in question and the outcome is not in the hands of the fans that have supported it for generations. We have seen actions on the ice result in actions in the court system. We have stood up and said we did not appreciate the racist or implied racist remarks by those that bring the game to us. Changes were made because of this and hopefully things will remain changed.
To keep bringing it up now serves no purpose but to keep stirring things up, to continue arguments and slow down the healing process. There will always be bias in any aspect of sports and in life. When we watch the Habs play a game we want the announcers to say good things about the Habs players. They know that. In world competition, the Swedes build up their players. It is natural. Why is it so hard to believe that the French channels build up the French players? The announcers surely know that the fans love their Habs and take much pride in their native sons. How many HNIC broadcasts show towns and villages across Canada with signs of pride in players born there? The Montreal Canadians, the Dallas Cowboys, the Boston Celtics and the New York Yankees all have people that love and hate them. They are the dynasties of their sports.
We as Habs fans may not feel that certain players “have what it takes” to be in the NHL and it is okay to discuss that in this forum or any other. It is not right though to question their character, mock their beliefs or their heritage. They are not paid for that but only to play to their best potential. If a team feels that they are what their team needs and offers them a salary to lure them or keep them there then it is in no stretch of the imagination that the player, in a sport where injuries can finish your career in a blink of an eye, that they do what is best for their future and their family.
It is time to remember the game of hockey again and not the business. The upcoming CBA has brought out the worse of everyone and threatens the very essence of professional hockey. The NHL.
It is time for management and players and those that represent both to realise the severity of their actions. Threats and false threats of leaving to play in Europe or the WHA only loses fan support. If we are to have a season next year then we must put hockey back to where it was. A game.