UPDATED - Island hockey players and fans happy lockout over

Jason Malloy
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Richards hopes fans come back

New York Rangers’ Brad Richards skates during training camp Saturday, Sept. 17, in Tarrytown N.Y.

Hockey players, fans and business owners across P.E.I. are elated at the tentative deal reached Sunday between the NHL and players association to end a four-month lockout and see their favourite pro sport resume play next week.

Murray Harbour's Brad Richards, a star forward for the New York Rangers, said he is excited by the news that came down early Sunday.

“It's finally nice to have an agreement in place," Richards told The Guardian in an email. "Obviously sooner would have been better, but that's in the past and we have to look forward.

"I can only hope that fans will come watch our great game again and see hockey as the sport we love, not the things that have gone on the past four months."

The two sides reached the tentative deal after a marathon 16-hour negotiating session Sunday morning. The deal ends 113 days of the players being locked out.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

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The resolution quickly became the story of the day, with the news being welcomed by fans and business owners.

Ise's Sports Bar locations in Charlottetown and Montague are two major watering holes for Island sports fans.

Mike Roberts, GM for the Charlottetown location, said individuals at the bar were "extremely excited" in wake of the news.

"It's great, especially for our patrons. Now they have something to watch, obviously hockey is our biggest sport on P.E.I.," Roberts said.

Roberts noted the bar is already making plans for a party to kick off the season's opening night, which will be sometime between Jan. 15 to 19.

"Just to kick the hockey season off and to get people at Ise's to watch Canada's favourite sport," said Roberts.

"I can only hope that fans will come watch our great game again and see hockey as the sport we love, not the things that have gone on the past four months." Brad Richards, New York Rangers hockey player and Murray Harbour native

Guardian sports columnist Fred "Fiddler" MacDonald said while he wished the two sides reached an agreement sooner, he was happy to see the lockout end for the sake of those who depend on the sport for a living, including players, employees of rinks and other businesses associated with NHL games.

"A lot of people depend on hockey for a living, so good for them," MacDonald said.

While there has been speculation over dropping fan attendance following the league's fourth work stoppage since 1992, MacDonald said he doubts any Canadian teams will be hurt by the lockout aftermath.

"They (Canadian teams) will pack the place back up. If fans are still going to games in Toronto and packing the place with the teams they've put out in the last five years, that tells you right there," said MacDonald.

However, MacDonald said he expects some of the "iffy" hockey markets in the U.S., such as Phoenix and Florida, will be hurt by a drop in attendance.

"Those teams are going to be the markets in trouble" MacDonald said, predicting it could eventually lead some teams to relocating to Quebec City or southern Ontario. "Eventually what will happen, is it will put more teams in Canada."

Ellerslie native Morgan Ellis, a Montreal Canadiens prospect playing with the Hamilton Bulldogs this season, is also looking forward to things returning to normal.

“Thank God the NHL is finally back, just wasn't right not watching Coaches Corner on a Saturday night,” the defenceman tweeted Sunday morning.

 

Check The Guardian sports section online and in the newspaper on Monday for more on the NHL agreement.

 

Organizations: NHL, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens

Geographic location: Murray Harbour

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Recent comments

  • chris
    January 07, 2013 - 13:59

    Really at the end of the day, who cares! Unfortunately, i will watch the games on Saturday night just to see Grapes, he's the best part of hockey anyway....these hockey players are sooo cheap, every time they come to PEI they never spend a dime and expect everything for free because everybody treats them like their gods, it's a joke, but then again the majority of them are dummies who have been brain washed by their crazy hockey moms and dads...i've been through the cycle of minor hockey with my son and am glad it's over...and whoever wins the cup there should be an aster ix by their team name...not a real season anyway...

    • HadEnoughYet?
      January 07, 2013 - 16:44

      I don't understand how Tim Hortons can associate itself with this greedy crop of bums .. no matter how many million dollars they make. They know they are vacuous. Hollow at the core. They put $15,000 in the bank for every month they were on strike.. . How long would it take a counter "associate" at Tims to make 15 K? Including tips? NHLers are overpaid, metrosexual fashion model golfers. They do nothing for society except put on a violent circus so the lifeless ta-rds pay the larcenous ticket prices continue to make ice fairies millionaires. What a scam. And then there's that illiterate, quasi-demented bigot, Cherry, with his violence promoting "rock 'em, concuss 'em" vids. And the tar ds think he's cool. He's a clown. Dresses like a pimp, have you noticed? And yes, I glance at the tube once in a while, but just to check out the ads: I will never buy a Ford or step inside a Hortons or anything else associated with this BS. Tims? Their product is just as destructive to people's health as the NHL is to people's brains. Folks, go for a walk. These bums are Hollywood types, and in a few years, if they are not dememted from elbows to the head or alcoholics, will be modeling Hanes briefs at Targett.

  • HadEnoughYet?
    January 07, 2013 - 13:25

    I never took my daughters to single hockey game because of the culture of violence - the filthy language, the violent parents, the slashing, spearing and fighting (and concussions) was brutal and desensitizing. And now that the NHL players have settled on a HUGE pay package (even when on strike, their average monthly salary was $15,000 and get the clown show back on the ice. They play a child's game. A fanatic would have to be mentally challenged to step into an NHL rink, be assaulted by the garish ads and actually tolerate the arrogance and greed.

  • mike
    January 07, 2013 - 10:31

    yes the avg salary is appr $2.5 miilion per year, but the avg length of a pro career is 5 years. these players have sacrificed a lot to get where they are, continue to sacrifice every season, and deserved to get paid well, especially considering they are the best of the best, and we are in fact living in a capitalist economy.

    • Never Again . . . Pro hockey eats its young.
      January 07, 2013 - 12:27

      Would you invest a few decades into something, as well as money and enthusiasm, and then not even have a choice in the outcome of that investment? Well, fool that I am that's what I did. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. This fan is out of here; love the sport, hate the business. Sure, I'll cast a glance at the TV in a bar and listen to people rant about whose jock strap is bigger, but never again will I invest my time and energy into something that eats its young.

  • Bmac
    January 07, 2013 - 08:14

    I am disgusted by the display of greed on both sides of this dispute & I will be not be watching any more hockey,as all I can think of is what they are really there for...

  • let's support the real thing . . .
    January 07, 2013 - 07:53

    Let's support local hockey and let the "pros" slide into oblivion. After all, once the business becomes more important than the sport, is it really worth gawking at it? It's just like physical love and beauty, once it's pimped out it ain't so beautiful anymore. It's just desperate. Sure, we can pay big time to go to the clubs and admire how skillful the "equipment" is used, but is it real? Once you've see what they really think of the "fans", is it worth it? Not for me, I'm off to find the real thing . . .

    • good analogy
      January 07, 2013 - 14:39

      "Fans" or "Johns" Tomatoes. . . tomatoes, good one!

  • Bad reporting....
    January 07, 2013 - 06:40

    If you ask me its bad reporting on behalf of the guardian-I'm a hockey fan and I'm far from "elated"....not saying I wont watch it on TV-but it'll be a long time before I travel back to Boston or Montreal to spend my hard earned money on tickets

  • Time for some real news
    January 07, 2013 - 05:36

    I, personally. am glad the strike is over because it means that I won't have to listen to updated versions of what didn't happen in the negotiations. I couldn't care less if anybody or nobody attends the games. You probably guessed that I am not a fan.

  • Boospud
    January 07, 2013 - 04:10

    Well if i made millions yearly for playing a game witch i love i wouldnt expect or worry about pention

  • Jerry Bingley
    January 06, 2013 - 20:31

    The average salary in the NHL is $2.7 Million a year and one of the "stumbling blocks' was THEIR pensions when they are done playing. Hey guys, save some of that Ho-Hum Salary for a rainy day. Bring on Coronation Street on Satrurday night you spoiled brats.

  • AMAZED
    January 06, 2013 - 20:24

    What dream world is this reporter living in? Every paper I've read including this one, the comments sections are filled with fans saying they will never watch NHL games ever again. They are pissed off at both the owners AND the players.Every person I speak with says they are going to boycott the NHL.Of course there are people like bar owners or sales people that sell NHL sweaters and crap that are probably excited but I wouldn't get my hopes up.Most people work hard for peanuts and these guys strike while getting millions for PLAYING A GAME.

  • Cletus
    January 06, 2013 - 19:13

    I won't be supporting this shortened season by buying tickets, merchandise or watching games on television. It will be a while until my family supports the NHL.

  • greed
    January 06, 2013 - 15:55

    Hope nobody gors to watch. Nothing but greed on both sides.

  • Hold On
    January 06, 2013 - 15:47

    Why are you blaming the bosses ? With what the players are being paid , maybe some of the blame should be put on their shoulders as I don't believe any one is worth what some of them are being paid . Was it not them that wanted more ??????? which wasn't feesible for the owners who invest the money to have a team in the first place .

  • David
    January 06, 2013 - 15:44

    the players are just as much to blame. It is only about money for them and they have none of the expenses. I hope the fans show the greedy players that they don't need hockey and then we will see some real changes. Brad Richards being paid how many millions for playing a game....plain silly.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    January 06, 2013 - 15:05

    Personally I would not attend any professional sporting event that costs more than $10. to attend because that is all I personally could afford. I understand that professional games can now cost upwards of hundreds of dollars per game. No matter how talented a person is why do we have to pay so much? When I was young a professional hockey game might cost $5 to $10 for the best seats and a package of cigarettes cost $1. If you keep putting your heroes up on pedestals they are going to think that their talent is worth more, after all, they are only human. Personally my heroes do the things they love for little or nothing.

    • Manda
      January 06, 2013 - 19:31

      Mr. Kays, One bottle of pop was five cents. Stamps were just a few pennies as well. EVERYONE likes more money in their cheques, no matter where they are issued. Food for thought EH !!

    • Ulfric
      January 06, 2013 - 23:35

      Well guess what? Times have changed. It's the entertainment biz.

  • Bert
    January 06, 2013 - 13:52

    "DAMN" now Corontaion Street will be moved to a different time on Hockey nights.

  • Islanders
    January 06, 2013 - 13:36

    That greed was evident on both sides. Millionaires quibling over revenues that are generated by the fans who are struggling to put food on their table and a roof over their heads. They don't care about the fans, when they say they hope that fans come back it's because the more fans there are watching them, the more revenue that goes into the pockets of players and owners. Pretty shameful from both sides if you ask me.

  • cmb
    January 06, 2013 - 13:24

    We, the fans, should do the same as the NHLPA and the NHL. We should hold out for 5 months by leaving every seat empty in every NHL building and also boycott the NHL center ice package until ticket prices are affordable for the average family to see a game. 64.3 million is the salary cap for 2013 -14.That is an outrageous amount of money to split amongst a team of 25 players! I would like to know what the NHLPA and the NHL are going to do to get us back! Yes, I love NHL hockey, BUT I am tired of extravagant owners and spoiled rotten hockey players fighting over billions of dollars that the fans put into this! The NHL should give the CENTER ICE PACKAGE free of charge to all fans for the season this year as a way of apolagizing to the fans! I know I am dreaming to expect this to happen because the bottom line is the NHL and the PA do not care about us ,the fans. They only care about the size of their bank accounts. SHAME ON YOU NHL AND THE NHLPA!!!!!!!

  • Disgusted
    January 06, 2013 - 11:05

    I wish it were so, Brad, However your bosses don't give a rats ass for the game or the fans. It's all about the money.

    • Dave Smallman
      January 06, 2013 - 11:50

      a bunch of over paid spoiled brats - that sums up the behaviour.

    • Ulfric
      January 06, 2013 - 13:09

      You couldn't be more wrong. The new CBA has put teams all on an even keel when it comes to contracting. Like the last lockout, it will add parity to the game. The players on the other hand circumvented the old CBA with their crazy long term contract demands like Mr. Richards here.

    • dm
      January 06, 2013 - 14:25

      yes, because the players don't care about money as well right, lol

    • Rob Mac
      January 06, 2013 - 15:21

      @Disgusted - the players are just as greedy!

    • nitpicker
      January 06, 2013 - 15:24

      I wish the fans would send a message by boycotting the NHL. Not forever, but long enough for both sides to stop taking their paying customers for granted.