Now that the National Hockey League Lockout is over, the Phoenix Coyotes and other teams in the league are thinking about ways they can get hockey fans back into the stands.
But thousands of fans across the United States and Canada say it will be a while before they come back.
Over 23,000 people have gone to the Just Drop It” Facebook page, where they are being asked to boycott the first 10 games of their team’s season, equal to the amount of games that have been cancelled since the protest movement started on Dec. 21.
The fans are pledging that they will neither attend the game or watch it on television. They also won’t buy any of their team’s merchandise during that 10-game span.
Steve Chase is a fan who plays ice hockey twice a week with his friends in Los Angeles.
“Someone in our locker room mentioned how ridiculous it was that the NHL had made $3.3 billion dollars in revenue,” he said. “Then we realized that was our money.”
They became so fed up with the lockout that they shot a video and posted it on the Facebook page they created.
Chase said if the over 23,000 fans who have liked the Facebook page go through with their pledge, it will hit the league and the teams hard.
“If each one of them skipped one game, just one game, let’s say that’s $30 apiece, that’s $6.5 million [that it will cost the league in revenue,]” he said Chase.
Skipping 10 games would cost the teams tens of millions of dollars.
But one team, the Winnipeg Jets, won’t be hurt, even if everyone of its’ fans join the protest, because all of their home games are sold out for the next five years. Every seat in their arena has been sold to a season ticket holder. That means that the team already has the money for every ticket, and isn’t required to refund it.
Winnipeg fans alerted Chase to this, and asked him what they could do to join in the protest.
The solution? To start what Chase calls a “flash mob” mentality that could start in Winnipeg and any other city where fans will be attending the first 10 games.
“At the 10 minute mark [of the second period] at every game, in every rink, the fans will stand up and turn their backs to the rink for two minutes,” he said.
The ten minute mark of the second period is exactly halfway through the game.
Chase hopes that fans will continue to stand and turn their backs even after the 10-game boycott is over. He hopes that the “two minute penalty,” as he calls it, will give the NHL and its players a message to quit the work stoppage trend.