Opinion

Hodge: NHL owners can’t afford to miss an entire season

OK, hockey fans, relax. Hockey guru Chuck assures you that despite all the threats and carrying on by members of the media, NHL team owners, and the National Hockey League Players’ Association, there will be a hockey season this year.

The supposed deadline of this Saturday to avoid another pro hockey strike may come and go, but the season will not.

The reason is simple —the owners simply cannot afford to lose another year while a large number of the players can either take a season off and live off the fat of their past year’s salaries or find employment overseas.

While the threat and remaining hangover of the strike that nearly crippled the league seven years ago is still in the minds of many fans—a couple of key factors have changed since then.

Foremost, despite the comments of some team owners, the NHL Players Association took a significant kick during the last strike and dealt in good faith with the owners last time round—but they will not do the same this time.

In fact, while many fans were angry at the players’ stand last strike, most now appreciate that this year’s head-butting display is largely the fault of the owners. The NHLPA is not about to roll over this time.

Even more significant is the fact that many of the elite players, especially those of European background, have a much more solid option plan in playing pro hockey elsewhere.

Contracts and structure offered by the Kontinental Hockey League, and other pro leagues around the world, are much more tempting and alluring than they were seven years ago.

Already, some superstars such as Alexander Ovechkin are talking about taking their hockey sticks and going home.

NHL team owners cannot afford to allow that shift of players to take place again and expect the stars to return in half a year or year from now.

If the league is foolish enough to proceed with another lockout it may be the beginning of the end of several current NHL clubs—and rightfully so.

•••

If the NHL is on strike Saturday, Nov. 17, there will be something else to do to occupy your hockey-free time.

That is the night that Curtis Tulman and I will play host to the eighth annual Night of the Arts fundraiser/concert at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

We are thrilled to announce that headliners for that evening’s show will be the reunited roots/country/rock band The Cruzeros.

Also scheduled to take to the stage are Corey Doak, Ten2Nine, and the Deb Stone Band—with another two acts to be named next week.

Benefactors again this year for the Night of the Arts is Metro Communities of Kelowna.

Metro is a faith-based organization that effectively ministers to Kelowna’s street community and provides a shelter in the proverbial storm of life.

As I have stated in the past, when it comes to assisting those in need—Metro truly is a candle in the night.

•••

Speaking of great causes and a fun time, I am going to be a judge at Saturday’s Raise the Roof BBQ Challenge at The Delta Grand.

Amazing chef Stuart Klassen and seven other top quality chefs will grab their spatulas and square off for this fun fundraising competition.

The event runs from noon until five and I intend to gorge myself the entire time.

Be prepared to laugh a lot as well because I am sharing a spot in the judging area with local columnist and humorist Lori Welbourne. This promises to be almost too much fun. (What the heck does Lori know about a great burger anyway—she’s a vegetarian for goodness sake.)

For more info go to www.downtownkelowna.com/event/rais-the-roof-bbq-challenge/

•••

Also, mark down Sept. 20 to 23 on our calendar for Rutland September Days.

The fun three days will include the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, Sept. 23. The breakfast runs from 8 to 10 a.m. at Rutland Centennial Hall. You can purchase tickets now at Hollywood Shoes, 150 Hollywood Road South.

Proceeds from the three-day event will go towards improving the playground area at Rutland Centennial Park.

•••

Just for fun, I must pass this one. A friend sent this to me last week and though some of you may have seen this before, I cannot resist printing it here.

I usually don’t pass on a lot of the stuff that comes my way via the Internet but this little gem certainly caught my attention.

As a wordsmith who occasionally trashes our written language for impact or effect (and sometimes through pure ignorance), I can see the humour of it.

As a former editor and assistant editor, it makes me quiver.

However, consider the following.

Can you read this?

Olny srmat poelpe can.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt...

•••

So Utinl nxet week, tkae crae.

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