MOUNT VERNON — As smooth as the ice is at hockey arenas where the National Hockey League players have yet to play, the league’s relationship with the fans, suddenly, isn’t so smooth.
In fact, it’s downright icy.
The NHL owners and players are hastily preparing an abbreviated season, following a lockout that lasted more than 100 days. But, for some local fans, the wait may have been too much to bear.
“I hate to say it, but I hope fans do some type of boycott, even if its just a game or two,” said Brian Bratton of Danville, a season-ticket holder with the Columbus Blue Jackets. “I hope the players and management see that the fans are frustrated.”
Bratton is just one of many fans who have voiced their displeasure with the third NHL lockout in 20 years. The league locked out its players for part of a season in 1994-95 and for a full season in 2004-05. This year’s lockout extended past the halfway point of the regular season.
“I’m bittersweet about it (the lockout ending). ... We’re obligated to go back to the game. They kind of have us over a barrel, which stinks,” said CBJ ticket holder George Hartz of Mount Vernon. “I’m going back because my kids love to go. I would have been perfectly fine if they waited until next year to play again.”
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