EDITORIAL: It’s game on for NHL fans

Despite the animosity with fans built over the last four months, the NHL will likely draw Canadians back to the game

Hockey Night in Canada.

Four words we haven’t heard for what seems like too long.

Sure, you may have become disconnected from the game, as “millionaire players” battled “billionaire owners” over how to share, in many cases, your hard-earned money.

But when the puck drops at Rogers Arena, the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Bell Centre in Montreal or any of the 15 National Hockey League rinks expected to host games on Jan. 19, it’ll be hard to look away.

The effect of the player lockout on the Greater Victoria hospitality industry has been significant, if not as major as in Vancouver or other Canadian NHL cities.

Without a doubt, every sports bar, lounge and restaurant with a TV – or many TVs – will have the Canucks’ first game tuned in, at least for a while. Many establishments are already planning special events related to hockey to attract more patrons.

In general, fans tend to find other diversions during their favourite sports’ off-seasons. Other sports take their place, or, in the case of hockey, outdoor pursuits often take over.

For hockey fans, the last few months have felt like an extended off-season. With no NHL on the tube, fans have resorted to watching NBA basketball – Victoria’s Steve Nash has been injured for much of his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers – junior hockey or other sports that don’t have the same broad emotional connection with the populace.

One thing is certain about the NHL, it tends to draw people together. Pro hockey is something co-workers tend to talk about the next day at the office. As the playoffs get closer – and they’ll come relatively quickly this season – gatherings start to be planned around watching the games on TV.

Certainly, some will ignore the NHL’s return. But for many of us in Greater Victoria and across Canada, it will be akin to pulling a favourite blanket out of storage. It’s familiar, feels good on a cold, dark night and is best enjoyed when shared.

Just Posted

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

Province urges backcountry adventurers to stay safe this weekend

Search and rescue responded to 28 incidents last Family Day weekend

Snow storms prompt reminders to prepare for emergencies

Province reminds public of essential supplies

Langford could soon be seeing its first retail cannabis store

Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. gets province’s approval

West Shore fundraiser serves up hope for kids with food allergies

Proceeds assist Oral Immunotherapy Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read