The National Hockey League has some major fences to mend after yet another work stoppage. On Thursday, the league took its first steps to get back in the fans’ good graces. A full page advertisement was taken out by the National Hockey League in the Boston Globe, which shows a letter apologizing to fans. This same letter will run in at least one major newspaper in every NHL city, and then it will be shown in a select few national publications.
If you haven’t seen the letter, here is the transcript:
As your teams prepare for the opening face-off of the 2012-13 season, we thank you for your patience and we apologize to you for the time we missed. From today forward, we will do everything we can to make this season worth the wait.
We are committed to earning back your trust and support the same way it’s earned on the ice: with hard work and unwavering dedication. Your cheers drive us forward, and we’re committed to making you proud to be a fan - by delivering a game with the action, the skill and the intensity you deserve.
Like you, we’ve missed NHL hockey. We’ve missed the clutch goals, the big hits, the electrifying saves. We’ve missed the flash of red light, the sound of the siren and the way the building shakes when the home team scores.
It’s time to focus on the best athletes in the world, on the enduring greatness of the game and - above all - on the connection that binds fans, players and families everywhere. NHL hockey is the best in the world. The future is incredibly bright. So let’s drop the puck and marvel at all the remarkable things the players do with it.
With respect and appreciation,
The National Hockey League.
P.S. We hope you’ll get in on the action. And again, thank you.
I’m glad to see the league starting to take steps in order to regain the fans’ trust, but this is the wrong way to do it. Does anyone really believe the league is sorry for the lockout? No? I didn’t think so. If this was the best idea that the NHL’s marketing department could come up with as far as an apology is concerned, they should’ve just painted “Thank you, fans” on the ice and moved on. Instead, the league has, in my opinion, slapped every fan in the face with an apology that has no meaning to it because when this CBA expires, we will all be back in the same predicament again.
If the league wants to show true forgiveness, do something that fans will deem worthwhile. Want some examples?
1) Lower ticket prices permanently. While we are at it, lower parking and concession prices, too.
2) Require that the NHL and NHLPA start negotiating a new CBA two years before the current one ends in order to eliminate work stoppages.
3) Give Center Ice away for free next season. I understand that another company owns the Center Ice package, but the league should pony up the costs for anyone who wants it.
4) Can we also figure out how to permanently ban Mike Milbury from any NHL broadcast?
Instead, I will do what should be done with a letter of apology from the National Hockey League - use it for kindling.