Have even the smallest fans turned their back on the NHL?
My son will turn 3 years old just before the NHL season is scheduled to start in October. He has skates. He will be enrolled in a learn to skate class this fall. He has two hockey sticks, a helmet and a Blues jersey. His favorite t-shirt is his T.J. Oshie shirt. He has a short attention span yet he will watch hockey games with me on television; he will make it through entire games in person. He loves the game. He loves the Blues. He's not even 3.
What will I tell him when the league locks out the players? Let's get back to that.
If you're a season ticket holder (including half season and 10-game packs), today is your opportunity to buy single game tickets in about an hour from when this story posted. If you're not, tomorrow is everyone's chance to buy single game tickets. You want to go to the home opener? Want to see the Capitals or the Penguins? The next 25 hours are your chance to guarantee you'll be in the building. Of course, there's no guarantee those games will ever happen.
Don't you feel at least a little insulted that the Blues are going about their business like there's no question the season will start on time? The Rams have been a train wreck of an organization for years. When the NFL was locked out last summer, they actually let season ticket holders wait to put their money down until there was an agreement. There was no penalty. Prices didn't go up, they didn't threaten to take seats away. It was downright neighborly. The Blues, they've gone about this thing a little differently.
First of all, if you were a season ticket holder last season and you wanted your seats for the playoffs, you had an early deadline to first guarantee your chosen seats and then pay at a lower price. If you waited, no guarantee, and higher prices. And with the Blues fighting for first overall in the league at the time, what percentage of people didn't do it? If the renewal rate wasn't 100 percent, it had to be damn close.
New season ticket holders in the spring could sign up for next season and be eligible for playoff tickets last season. So that got some new customers interested like myself and my 10-game plan. We signed up for the pay by installment plan. Next week on Sept. 1, the team will take the last payment out of my bank account. To be clear, that will be before a lockout is called. My neighborhood loan shark says that's kind of a rough way to treat the paying customers.
That means the Blues have stashed away our money to tide them over during a potential lockout. You thought you were signing up to see a young and emerging team and hopefully a long run into the playoffs. Instead you helped the new ownership get ready for the lockout. And you can still help by buying single game tickets! Hurry while supplies last!
No, I don't think a lockout will be long. There's too much money to lose for everyone. But it sure looks like we're going to sacrifice at least part of the season. I'm sure the Blues will be giving refunds as soon as the first week of games is cancelled, right?
I'm not saying if you buy a ticket today or tomorrow that you're a horrible person. It's not like you're buying a Red Wings ticket. But giving the team a dollar today so that the owners don't have to give a dollar to the players in October does seem questionable at best. I won't pretend to say a lockout will drive me away, but I'm not spending any more money with the team until they figure this thing out.
Now about my son. I'm going to have to sit him down and explain that the hockey players can't play for awhile. He can't spell CBA. For him, sharing isn't about revenue, it's about monster trucks. I might just have to tell him the ice isn't frozen yet.