Tuesday, August 24, 2004

NHL Hockey in late September is looking less and less likely.

For Hockey fans hoping for positive news regarding the labour situation things aren’t shaping up too good. Both sides seem rather entrenched in their positions and as time ticks down towards a mid September shut down, there seem less and less reasons to be hopeful.

In a fascinating hour of discussion Monday morning, CKNW talk show host Bill Good had former Vancouver Canuck President and GM, Brian Burke and former Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths on to talk about the state of the NHL and what kind of hope they had for a strike or lock out free settlement by the 15th of September.

The consensus of Griffiths and Burke was that a work stoppage of some length was probably unavoidable, lasting at least until Christmas and maybe beyond. A shutdown would definitely be bad news for hockey owners, players and fans. But it would also be particularly bad for local businesses and services in the NHL cities. Numbers vary from city to city but for the most part NHL game night is an economic engine in the immediate area of any NHL arena. From ticket takers to concession workers at the rink, to restaurants, hotels and stores in the NHL cities there would be an economic price to pay to dark rinks for a year.

Good and his guests discussed that impact, as well as the financial ramifications on the league should the shutdown of hockey last more than the season. It was the expectation of those interviewed during the hour that should the league be shut down for the year, there is a very good chance that a number of franchises would not recover from the economic hit and would fold. Contraction will come to the NHL with a vengeance if the shut down lasts a serious amount of time.

HockeyNation fans can listen in to the interview simply by heading for the CKNW website, clicking on the AudioVault section and listening in to the 9am-10 am segment for Monday August 23rd.

Arthur Griffiths will be bringing his extensive knowledge of the ownership side of the game to MOJO radio in Vancouver next week. Griffith’s has been hired on as an on air commentator, hosting a program covering all aspects of the labour dispute, starting Monday August 30th at 10 am (PST). I guess we have pre game shows on the radio, so we can look at this as a Pre Strike/Lockout show.

For those looking for silver linings in our apparently very grey skies, so far Griffiths has signed on only for a two week run, Hockey fans everywhere while not wishing ill for Arthur, no doubt are hoping his show is cancelled before September turns to October.

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