None of those games will be played. At least not now. The regular-season schedule has been canceled through Oct. 24.
This has, predictably, led to outrage from die-hard puckheads who want their NHL hockey. And this outrage has, predictably, led to many excuses to drink with our hockey-loving friends. (OK, and some other legitimate protests.)
Here are some of the protests planned, or mentioned, around fandom this week, as NHL fans solemnly honor the passing of our Opening Night.
As you can see, this is an effort that's gone on for a bit, targeting NHL teams. (We've also seen references to unfollowing the NHL and the NHLPA on Twitter as well).
There was an unfollow campaign on Facebook back on Sept. 15 that gained some notoriety but didn't really impact their feeds. Perhaps this one is more effective.
(The title is, we believe, a play on TSN's "That's Hockey.")
This Toronto-based protest is being hosted by WeWantACup.com, which writes on its Facebook page:
Feel free to wear your Leafs gear but remember that this isn't a protest. It's small group of concerned fans rallying together to show that they want their game and their team back.
We should be watching the Leafs and Habs with our families. Servers should be busy. Vendors should be busy selling. Friends should be together...
...But hockey is not in Canada
Our traditions lay on a boardroom table waiting for others to decide when it would be a good time for our families and friends to cheer. Enough is enough Bring back our game.
We'll have a donation box set up to help those out-of-work ACC employees, and any denomination is greatly appreciated! We'll have some "bring back hockey" signs for you to show your passion for the game. It was only recently that Joffrey Lupul noted there will be a time when fans stand up and show that they're concerned for hockey and that this lockout affects more than just players and fans.
OK, so not a protest. Just something that's really, really like a protest.
They have an ad for it too:
In the interest of equal time, here's Pension Plan Puppets with its thoughts on the non-protest:
Please, whatever you do on Saturday in Toronto, don't go to this. This is embarrassing for all Leafs fans and hockey fans in general. We're all upset that there's a lockout and that the season is in jeopardy, but this is hardly a cause worth taking to the streets over; it's just hockey. If you're "mad" that the NHL is on hiatus (or at least mad enough to protest on the streets of Toronto) maybe you should reevaluate your life. It's just a game. Chill.
Yep. Just a game. (Fast forward to the Leafs' next Cup: "IT'S LIKE I'VE BEEN KISSED ON THE MOUTH BY JESUS!")
The Pint in Edmonton will be hosting a "Lockout Party" on Friday afternoon. While partying might not be your immediate reaction to the lockout, please note that the event is (a) for charity and (b) will attract some news media coverage and (c) promises to be a hell of a party if Oilers Nation is to be believed.
Or, failing all of that, just go to Oklahoma City and see the Oilers.
R-Bar is the official bar of the Columbus Blue Jackets on the Nationwide District, and has been running some social media efforts to keep fans buying brews … even if they're not drowning their sorrows as CBJ fans might have this season. The Jackets were scheduled to begin the post-Nash era on Oct. 19 against the Canucks. Double shots for the Sedins!
The pre- and postgame scene around Verizon Center for Washington Capitals games is fantastic. So to support those businesses, and keep in touch with fellow fans, there's a pub crawl on Oct. 12:
To thank the people who make every hockey season special, even the seasons that don't happen, we shall put on our sweaters and Caps gear, gather near the arena to see our friends and fellow fans. We shall then embark on a grand tour of the old stomping ground to show our support for the restaurants and bartenders who have so often kept our spirits up during good times and bad. The owners keep us out of the arenas, the players abandon us for Europe, but our watering holes will never lock us out!
We intend to get started early, as usual on Opening Night, then meander up to the Arena just before 7pm (F Street entrance) for the ceremonial puck drop and anthem, before again heading out to bars and restaurants around us with our friends to celebrate fandom (and perhaps catch Game 5 of the AL/NL Wild Card rounds on TV, both the O's and Nats would play that night if they go five).
Alternately just pub crawl China town with your Caps/NHL fan friends, and celebrate what's really important in life: food, friends, and spirits! Transfer that 1% interest you're earning on your season ticket deposit to those who are hurt worst by the lockout!
A number of the local bars/restaurants will be getting involved in the evening, and it looks like they are coordinating here.
So drink and be merry, Caps fans.
Finally, Our Suggestion
If you feel the need to unfollow the NHL or the NHLPA to make a point, or attend a lockout protest, or to take a steamroller to your collection of hockey DVDs, go right ahead. Let it all out.
But our suggestion for what would have been your team's opening night (and the Caps and Jackets fans have the right idea):
1. Go to your favorite pre- or postgame eatery or bar or bar with decent food, one that's hopefully located within distance of the darkened arena.
2. Spend money.
Sure, most arenas are going to have other tenants, and those games/shows/what-have-you are going to fill the local watering holes. But they won't have hockey, and they might not have it at all this season. So go meet your usual crew, raise a glass to the fans and have a few to support the place.
Oh, and if you choose to rock some swag on "opening night," may we suggest:
3. Wear your NHL gear inside out.
The logo on the front and the name on the back can go to hell for one night.
Any ones we missed? Hit us at firstname.lastname@example.org.