NHL salaries are offside
By: Tim Cusack
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 03:15 pm
So do you miss it yet? Are you finding your Saturday evenings lacking for want of our national pastime? Have your chicken wings lost their flavour? Is there a tear in your frosted, malted beverage? Have you turned to such distractions as going for walks, talking to your children, taking in a movie or visiting friends to get through your withdrawal symptoms? You’re not alone.
For the second time since 2004-2005, the NHL season has been put in the Collective Bargaining Agreement penalty box. Sure, both parties are at the table and we will mostly likely see an abbreviated season, unlike 2004-05 when the Stanley Cup never made an appearance. This time round, though, instead of counting down the days till the NHL puck drops, I think I may stick to my regimen of withdrawal therapy.
Heresy, you say! I am not a true fan, you say! Perhaps. I'm not saying that I will not watch hockey ever again. Rather, I am thinking that I don't miss it as much as I thought I might. I have been quite adept at finding a plethora of other things to do and you know what? I think I may become a subversive influence on others. When the hockey season eventually gets underway, I may continue my renewed passion for the CFL. I may continue to take in local high school and college games. I will look at the trusty WHL and watch players who have their heart in the game and not necessarily $$ in their eyes. I know there is much more to the lockout than wages and I respect the CBA process. What makes my heart ache, however, is the sheer amount of money that some professional athletes make and that they seek even more.
Consider CFL players. While they do not have as many games to play, they have a demanding assignment, which is fraught with opportunities for injury. What I love most about CFL players is the big heart and commitment they have for the game. Whether it is visiting team players giving minor football kids a high-five after the half time scrimmage, or the home team showing their outreach in greater community, I see players who make a difference despite making a modest salary. I do believe modest is an understatement in this case. When I hear of 20-year-olds signing five-year deals for $6 million a year, though, I wonder … why as a taxpayer would I ever support or encourage this?
The NHL is a business. Players are seeking the ‘market value’ for their skills. The market is really folks like you and me. If we want to pay to see it – c’est la vie! Let's face it, we would all love to make $6 million a season, especially if we were only 20 years old. Who wouldn't? As an educator, or a nurse, it would take me approximately 50 years to make that single year NHL salary. Does this seem like fifty shades of ridiculous? You bet your aluminum stick it does!
I love cheering on the Oilers. I hold a mini-pack and have a passion for our game. I only wish society had a stronger passion for looking at ‘who does what for whom’ and realize that most professional athletes are grossly overpaid. Just ask our Olympic athletes how much they get for what they do. Then ask our soldiers the same question.
NHL Hockey ... I think I could quit you ... at least till playoffs.
Tim Cusack is a Don Cherry impersonator who, like the Leafs, would rather be golfing.