Dad, what’s a Lockout?

Dad, what’s a Lockout?

‘Poor man wanna be rich,
rich man wanna be king,
and the king ain’t satisfied till he loses everything……’

Bruce Springsteen

You have to love it when your nine year old son asks questions that make you think harder about things than you usually do.

This one wasn’t quite as challenging as “Where do babies come from?” But none the less was just about as difficult to answer.

There has been so much talk in the media about the pending NHL lockout so I guess at some point I was going to be asked.

I tried to answer him as best I could. Now keep in mind being a former player and a player representative during two work stoppages, I am pretty biased. But trying to be a good Dad I thought I would try to explain the situation as best I could giving both sides of the argument.
I think I may have failed miserably… Here is how it kind of went:

“Dad, what is a lockout?”

“Well son, the owners of the teams and the players don’t have a working agreement that the owners like so they have the right to lock the players out from playing.”

“Doesn’t anyone else have keys to the rinks to get in to play???”

“No son, it is not that simple. The owners don’t want to pay the players as much to play. They want to reduce their salaries. Sort of if like Mom and I wanted to pay you less allowance we would lower it to a level we felt was fairer.”

“Don’t get any ideas…..”

So they are not going to have a season until they agree on something. They will eventually.”


“I don’t know.”

“So when will we see a game again?”

“I don’t know.”

“That stinks. But Dad, don’t they sign contracts or something? Those guys are the best players in the world….they should get paid good.”

“Well, they do. Really well. And they just want to continue to get paid well.”

“So then the guys who own the teams won’t play the games at their rinks?”


“But don’t they make money from the games?”

“Yes, but they want a better deal.”

“Gotcha. Well if they pay the guys less, when we go to the games the popcorn is going to be cheaper!”

“Well, maybe not. They have a lot of expenses and a lot of people to pay.”

“Hey yea, what about the Zamboni drivers?”

“What about them?”

“Do they still have jobs if they don’t have ice to do?”

“Good question.”

“What about the refs? They’ll probably find some other games to ref, right? Maybe they will do some of ours!”


“So the players want to keep playing, and the owners make money on the games, but they aren’t going to play the games…..I don’t get it.”

“It is very confusing for everyone.”

“What about the Stanley Cup?”

“What about it?”

“Do the Kings get to keep it and keep taking it to their homes?”

“No, they have to probably give it back.”

“To who?”

“The league I guess.”

“So the owners own the cup?”

“I never thought of it like that but I guess they do.”

“But the players win it……”

“Yes they do. Can we get back to your first question?”

“So no one gets paid, no one gets to watch hockey and the owners teams don’t get to play each other. That’s a Lockout.”

“You got it.”

“This is stupid. The players should just go play somewhere else.”

“Some of them will. They will go to Europe to keep playing.”

“Wow, Europe is far. They should start their own league here…….”

“Well, it’s not that easy. The NHL is so big and powerful. It would be impossible to recreate. It’s like a Monopoly kind of.”

“Ooh, Monopoly is awesome!!! Especially if you land on Boardwalk or Park Place……”

Good talk son……

Let’s just hope both sides pass Go and collect their $200.00 soon.
Twitter  @khuffman5

One comment

  1. Kerry,
    I see you posted this at 6:25 Am…You are probably up preparing for a drive to a game…. Thanks for posting this… Here is my take on the lock out.

    I don't begrudge anyone trying to make as money as they can in a capitalistic society. Here is the question?…. How much extra money do the players really need. The rest of us are getting hit quite hard financially and we cant make demands on our employers in this recession like climate.

    You probably see it at your home rink parents are having a hard time paying their ice hockey players invoices. You know as much as we would like to think its all for the kids it isn't as the real bottom line for the rink is to make a profit to stay in business. With out the profit there is no rink period.

    Fast forward to the NHL…. Don't be so callous to think Professional Ice Hockey is needed in the Good ole US of A. It may not be real important to a lot of folks when in the coming months gas will be 4.00 a gallon and ticket prices to games will go up another 5 percent. A good friend of mine has been in the ticket agency business his whole adult life over 30 years. Last year and now again this year his total sales to all venues ( Sporting and Concerts )are off 50 percent from 5 years ago. City's are going broke unable to pay workers and services to the residents are being cut back dramatically.

    Now is not the time to walk away from easy street, be thankful God has given you the talent as a player to achieve the type of results you have attained and the ability to play at such a high level. How many of us are really doing what we thought we wanted to do as children now that we are adults. The answer: Not many: Most of us were forced to find a good paying job to support our selves and our family's.

    Being payed to play a sport you love is quite rewarding to the player as years of sacrifice have paid off. Most Ice Hockey fans can relate to this and want to see the players compensated justly. Now is not the time to walk, now is the time to skate and take advantage of the new hockey market which has just exploded on the west coast because of the kings.

    Think about this Kerry had the Flyer cup teams of 1973-74 ,and 74-75 not achieved the ultimate success they did your rink and your blog would not be here today. As a twelve year old who was perfectly content being a football and Baseball fan those two teams sold my self and a whole bunch of other Delaware Valley sports fans to the game. Those two teams like it or not brought Ice Hockey to the Delaware Valley not the shear intense excitement or beauty of the sport,just that rag tag team assembled by Keith Allen.

    My son is 18 years old and has always played at the highest levels of the leagues here in the Delaware Valley. What a great sport Ice Hockey is and what a great experience it has been going to all the games and the tournaments scattered around the country and meeting all walks of Ice Hockey fans.. Now is not the time to walk it is time to skate…. One last item check out this link someone has gone through the trouble to compile quite a bit of data.

    Thanks Steve Atkinson

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