NHL lockout leaves fans out in the cold

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NHL lockout leaves fans out in the cold

Sarah Tomkinson courier staff

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The NHL lockout really hit home with me, especially since my childhood home was based in hokey. My family exposes children to sports at a young age. I can recall numerous baseball and football games in my childhood, but the first professional sporting event that sticks in my head is hockey.

I was six, and my oldest brother wanted to be just like my cousin, who at the time was a junior Blue. I was bundled up in my coat and mittens watching as my brother yelled at the men on the ice as the rest of my family sat there in a daze. We kept going to those games at least once a year, and we started to become hooked. My oldest brother adored all Chicago sports teams, and I favored the color red, so we became Chicago Blackhawk fans, while my youngest brother stuck to his St. Louis roots and became a Blues fan.

My mom always says she doesn’t care for hockey, but she went to the games because she knew her children loved it. For my brother’s 16th birthday, instead of going out and doing something special, we sat at home and watched Wayne Gretzky’s last game. Then my oldest brother

insisted on going to NHL games, which cost more money. I was upset at the fact our yearly hockey trips were now divided so that not everyone could go. My family kept hockey close, though.

My dad would  sit with my oldest brother and I as we rooted for the Black hawks, and he would complain that he raised his children wrong since out of the three of us, only one was a Blues fan.Hockey is near and dear to me. On Saturday, I was originally planning on teaming up with one of my best friends to go to Chicago for the Blackhawks Training Camp Festival. This was a standing family tradition. We’ve done it every year since I entered college, but it’s not possible this year.

The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement expired on Sept. 15, and the NHL Players Association and the NHL owners have yet to come up with a new one. The NHL owners voted unanimously for a lockout, meaning that all my hockey traditions are on hold.

This pain is shared throughout all ages groups and all fans. Recently, my cousin welcomed a brand new hockey fan into his family. This lockout means my cousin won’t be able to take his new son to his first hockey game at six months old, like he did with his first son. It’s not possible to celebrate a birthday while watching our favorite hockey teams. It’s not possible for my family.The NHL lockout hits me a spot that almost seems fatal. It’s a perfect example of the dangers that comes with putting money into something. This lockout is happening merely because the two associations don’t know how they want to share money.

I’ll attend American Hockey Leagues and East Coast Hockey League games to fill the void, but there’s no highlight quite like cheering alongside complete strangers as your favorite player makes a goal, or taunting your relative because your team is beating theirs.Hockey is a bonding unit for my family, and this lockout is eating at us all, and we can only hope a compromise is in sight.