The Vancouver Giants' 'Vancouver Canucks' throwback jersey (Vancouver Giants photo)The Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants stepped right to reaching out to disgruntled NHL fans. With the big-league Vancouver Canucks idled, the Giants have cut ticket prices to the first three home games and also announced they will wear a throwback jersey for their home opener that is rather similar in colour and hue to the NHL's team.
(It actually is a homage to the original Canucks, the minor pro team which won the Pacific Coast Hockey League title in 1945-46. So it's not a copyright infringement! Pretty clever.)
The fact the Giants were ready to go with a sales pitch within the first 48 hours of the NHL imposing the lockout tells you how long this has been brewing, but that's something for another blog. One can only presume other major junior teams in the CHL, along with myriad teams in the minor leagues, other junior circuits such as the USHL as well as the NCAA and CIS will also try to get creative while the NHL is on Operation Shutdown.
There's no getting past the disappointment that every round of collective bargaining in the NHL seems to end with a work stoppage. Opportunity is opportunity, especially for teams such as the Giants, Brampton Battalion, Mississauga Steelheads, Oshawa Generals and Ottawa 67's who play in NHL markets but aren't part of the same ownership group that runs the pro team. The 67's set a CHL single-game attendance record of 20,067 in December 2004 during the last lockout; that was before they set up shop at Scotiabank Place. (The mark was broken in 2011 when the WHL played an outdoor game, but it's still an indoor record.)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.