Every week, we receive impassioned letters from NHL fans written to both Commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Donald Fehr.
Some of them can be rather scathing — "The end of the world is coming, unfortunately it's for you National Hockey League. And it's gonna come before 12.21.12 for you [expletive] morons!" was a recent favorite — but others are simply pleas for these warring factions to get something done.
How many of these "letters" are actually sent to Bettman and Fehr is anyone's guess. But Alex Lewis from Redondo Beach, Calif. sent his off to the NHL and the NHLPA, and was surprised when one of the two titans of the negotiating table wrote back.
Coming up, a letter Alex said he received from Donald Fehr.
Here's the letter:
As Alex wrote in an email:
I recently wrote letters to both Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman at the NHLPA and NHL offices. They were both calm and respectful letters that voiced my frustration and begged both of them to just sit down and make a deal at all costs. I figured they wouldn't be read and would more than likely be tossed in the garbage, but I didn't care. I just needed a way to vent.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I received a letter from Fehr and the NHLPA [seen above].
I'm sure it was a general inquiry response, and I'm sure there's a good chance that his signature was from a stamp, rather than his own pen, but it still goes a long way to know I'm cared about as a fan enough to get a response back. And that response came from the players association, not the league.
And that's really while we're sharing it here. It's a form letter, most likely. Donald Fehr may have never even seen it. But a fan wrote to the NHLPA. The NHLPA wrote back. And while the players' reputation and standing in this labor war has diminished since a high point in the summer, the NHLPA continues to do the little things right in fan relations.