This story is why hockey players are my favorite athletes of any sport. While embroiled in a bitter lockout with no end in sight, several players took matters into their own hands. Players like Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Tyler Seguin and more have gone overseas to play in various leagues. However, a few French-Canadians decided that wasn’t good enough.
So they just started their own league.
Headed up by former Penguin Max Talbot and NY Islander Bruno Gervais, a group of NHLers are starting a “caravan” league, in which teams will travel across Canada (mostly Quebec) and play against one another. Some of the other players that will join the league include: Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, Simon Gagne, David Perron, Alex Burrows among others. Games will be held on a weekly basis, and all ticket proceeds (games are $20 a ticket) will go to charity.
The NHL and the owners can go on and on about how they care about the fans, but they are empty words. The fact that a group of players decided to do something like this tells me two things:
1. They care about the game more than the money. They love hockey first. That’s a rarity among professional athletes.
2. They care about the fans far more than the owners. You can’t take a date to a movie for $20. They want to play hockey, and they want people to feel free to come and watch them for what amounts to a charitable donation. Awesome.
This isn’t the first time a group of NHLers have done this. During the last lockout of 2004-05, a large group of players decided to do the same thing, and it proved to be very popular.
If you’re wondering what side of the lockout fence you’re on, just remember that the first thing the players want is hockey. The first thing that the owners want is money. It’s not an opinion, it’s proven now to be a fact.
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