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Monday, 24 September 2012

Lockout Survival Guide

The September 15th deadline has come and gone and as many expected the NHLPA and the NHL could not agree on a new CBA. As Bettman said he would, he has indeed locked out the players. We have now entered a lockout, but don't fret hockey fans I'm sure the rich owners and players will get a deal done soon right?

But for now I have your lockout survival guide, providing you with the best alternatives to a lockout.

First Step;

The first step for any sports fan when their sport enters a lockout is acceptance. Now I don't mean be happy or just completely forget about the sport you love. I mean accept the fact that the two sides were unable to come to an agreement and accept the fact there is nothing you can do. Sure you can boycott the NHL and their sponsors or sign petitions until you run out of ink but at the end of the day those things aren't going the lockout. While as fans we are not happy about the lockout we must accept the fact it is out of our hands. It's between Bettman, the owners, Donald Fehr and the players.

Now that you have accepted the fact there is nothing you can do to get Bettman to change his mind, let's explore other things that you can do during the lockout.

  • Go out and play hockey

Whats better than watching the sport you love? Going out and playing that sport! Even if you don't own a pair of skates or know the basics of skating there's always ball hockey. But seriously instead of sulking over the lockout go out and make your own hockey. The NHL only wins if they take the game we love away from us the fans. Head down to your local rink and look into joining a recreational league or see when the "beer leaguers" lace up the skates. It's great exercise and you may meet some new people.

  • Family Bonding

Now that you don't have to be glued to your television set watching your favourite team go out and enjoy the people in you life. Take the wife out for dinner and a movie, teach the kids something new, offer to walk the dog or just go out to a restaurant or gathering and meet some new people. Humans need other human championship in order to function it's a basic principle, stop ignoring your loved ones and take this opportunity to spend more time with the family. You'll feel better and your family will be glad to have your full attention.

  • Support minor hockey

What a lot of people forget is the NHL isn't the only hockey around. While it is the best professional sports league there are tons of other league to check out and there's some pretty decent players playing in them. Every NHL team has a farm team known as the AHL. The Buffalo Sabres have the Rochester Americans, the Toronto Maple Leafs have the Toronto Marlies etc. The point is the AHL teams aren't on strike go out and support them. There's also the OHL, CHL, QMJHL and WHL who would love a few new fans. If you don't want to spend the money or travel far chances are you live in a town that has a solid Jr. A hockey team. Go out and support some of the smaller leagues, the players give it all night in and night out trying to earn a shot at the NHL. You may be presently surprised with the talent you discover during the lockout. You never know, a player you discover may make it to the NHL one day and you can say you saw him when he was still in junior.

  • Watch some football

Who are you kidding as much as you love hockey you still have a soft spot for the NFL. I know I do, and while I wouldn't watch a football game over a hockey game the NFL is pretty much the next best thing. I mean there's hitting, passing, defence and offence the only thing missing is the ice. Go drive some die hard NFL fan nuts by jumping on a bandwagon and riding that team all the way to the Super Bowl.

  • Take up a new hobby

Try picking up that old dusty guitar thats sitting in the corner and play a few cords. Use the extra time to teach yourself new songs or just the basics. Before long you'll be surprising yourself and your friends with your musical talent. If music isn't your thing maybe try some photography. Head down to Wal Mart and buy yourself a digital camera before your long you'll be blown away with what you've captured. I bet it's been awhile since you sat down and read a book from front to back. Head down to your local library (yes those still exist) and take out a few books you'll be surprised how quickly you can become lost in a story.

  • Start a blog

How hard could blogging be right? I mean if I'm doing it you sure as heck could. Start a blog about your challenges during this lockout, how each day is slowly becoming more and more painful. But seriously if you have some thoughts or opinions get them out there for the world to seem, you'll be surprised how many people share the same feelings as you.

  • Watch the KHL

If you aren't up to watching junior hockey and insist on watching NHL players (who are partially responsible for this mess) you better brush up on your Russian. If you want to watch the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin then the KHL has you covered. While it might sound strange, I'm slightly happy the players are heading over to the KHL during this lockout. It's the break the KHL have been looking for and they're finally going to get some recognition outside of just Russian. Hopefully one day the fear of losing players overseas will keep the NHL from more lockouts.

  • Get hooked on a new TV series

My personal favourite show to watch besides hockey is Flashpoint which airs on Thursday nights on CTV at 10. They're entering the final season and are sure to end with a bang. Why not get caught up on the latest TV dramas such as Lost, Greys Anatomy, Glee. Or re-watch some of the classics which aren't aired anymore.

  • Get outside

Use this opportunity to get off your duff and do something productive! How about losing those 10 pounds you've been talking about for years, now's your chance. Start working out, running and transform your body into the best shape it's been in years. You always said you wanted to see your toes again one day right? Go fishing, go hiking just go outside and enjoy nature. It's a lot better actually being outside in nature than watching it on you HD T.V screen. Despite what sports networks and TV tells us, being outside and consuming fresh air is good.

  • Make your own video

It's 2012 the internet is a powerful tool. We've all seen the fan made videos about the lockout, well now it's your chance. Call some hockey starved friends over hit the record button and let the world see your pain and sorrow over the lockout, at the very least you can get your 15 minutes of fame.

  • Coach hockey

Now that you're not watching hockey on Saturday evenings you have some open time. Why not give back to the game you love by teaching the next generation the basics about hockey. It's extremely rewarding watching them play, it's all about fun at their age.

  • Take advantage of the lockouts effect on merchandise

If you're a hockey fan your room is covered with your teams merchandise and your closet is full of shirts, hoodies and jerseys that in some way support your team. Why not take advantage of some discount prices on t-shirts, pictures and bobble heads? With the money you're saving not having to buy tickets or purchasing TV subscriptions buy stuff to complete your "man cave".

  • School

If you're still in school you now have more time to focus on your school work. You know actually study for tests and complete projects. Now that your weeknights will not feature hockey now's the chance to get your grades up and make honour roll. You never know maybe your parents will be so impressed that they buy you that jersey you've been saving up for or promise to take you to a game once the lockout is over.

If you're not in school or chose not to pursue a higher education now's your chance. You also vowed to go back to school one day, now that you're not following the NHL every waking moment. Enrol in a University or College or just take some night courses, you can get that degree you always wanted.

  • Buy NHL 13

It may only be a video game but it's better than nothing, and for Sabres fans Ryan Miller is the highest rated goaltender what could be better? If you haven't bought the game yet now's your chance to see what all the hoopla is about. If you've been collected hockey video games from EA since the early 2000's you can play the games in order and see how the games developed.

  • Cry

It's okay we're all upset, it's okay to cry and let it all out. We all miss the game it's going to be a tough year it's okay to cry. If you need to join a support group and find other die hard hockey fans who are weeping on the inside.

There you go folks here's my NHL Lockout Survival Guide. Remember we can't change the fact there is a lockout but life will go on trust met. There's other hockey to watch such as the AHL, OHL, or local hockey. Hope you enjoyed my lockout survival guide, let me know in the comments how you're going to survive the lockout.

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