TheNYRBlog reader Victoria C. sends me a copy of the letter she recently e-mailed to Gary Bettman regarding the lockout…
Dear Mr. Bettman,
My name is Victoria C. I am an avid New York Ranger fan and a hockey fan in general. This past season, I was able to watch the team I love play their way to the top of the Easter Conference. They then went on to win two postseason playoff series, one against the Ottawa Senators and the second against the Washington Capitals, both in seven games. They then went on to lose the Eastern Conference Finals to the New Jersey Devils in 6 games. The New York Rangers also had the privilege of playing in the Winter Classic on January 2nd, resulting in a win against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers finished the 2011-2012 season with 51 wins, 24 losses, and 7 overtime games. They finished with 109 points, the second best in the entire League. While their postseason didn't end the way that many hoped, the Rangers had high hopes for the 2012-2013 season. They acquired right winger Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets. They intended to be a better team than they were previous season. I feel the need to tell you this because as a fan, I am under the impression you have no interest in the game. As you know, under your tenure, there have been three lockouts. The 1994-1995 season, the 2004-2005 season, and now the start of the 2012-2013 season will be cut short. Usually, when a person employed in a leadership position is not up to par, others will call for that person resignation. But now with you. For some reason, you are still employed. You still made over $7 million in the last year alone. This lockout will cost people their jobs, resulting in increased unemployment and lower income.
The New York Rangers were supposed to open their season on October 12th, at 10PM against the Los Angeles Kings in LA. Prior to the puck drop, the Kings were supposed to have a ceremony, raising their championship banner. That is now going to be postponed. The Rangers were supposed to come home from a long road trip to open at home on November 1st against the Dallas Stars. And thus begins another journey to the 2013 postseason.
I will now quote the end monologue from the HBO series, "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, Flyers/Rangers":
"Never get caught telling a hockey player it's just a game. Never get caught trying to explain to him all the things in the world that matter so much more. HIs mind might well acknowledge the truth to your point, but his soul will be powerless to accept it, considering the immensity he gives to the sport, the immeasurability of all it offers in return. Nothing ever feels as perfect as a moment of flawlessness on the ice. No bond is as strong as one that compels brother to bleed for one another. Not many leaders are as well versed in the craft of motivation. Not many pursuits envoke such brilliance. This is why it hurts so much when skill falls short of what the will desires. This is why it is so unforgettable when absolute passion yields ultimate reward. And that's all just the start of what the game can do to you… Hockey may be in fact just a game, but it is also who they are."
Now, a quote from Allyson Gronowitz: "Yes, there are things more important than hockey. But you know what? I like that hockey distracts us from things more important than hockey."
In October of 2009, my father was diagnose with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He fought long and hard and beat his disease. His father has just recently passed away in March of 2012. He fought day in and day out to come to terms to what his life would be like without his father. I cannot begin to imagine what he is going through. In July of 2012, he was re-diagnosed and expected to beat this disease once again. Just a few weeks ago, my father was informed that he was once again in remission. I tell you this for two reasons: one- my father is just as much of a hockey and New York Ranger fan as I am. We sit and watch games together, discuss the outcomes and bond over the love we have for our team. And two- after his second diagnosis, I promised him I would get him to a Ranger game this season come hell or high water. I was planning on attending the November 4th game against the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that the Ranger Nation love to hate. But, once again, plans are disrupted because of the actions of you and your organization.
I leave you with one last quote, one spoken by Fred "The Frog" Shero, a longtime coach of the Flyers: "We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time in between games." I truly hope, for the sake of thousands of people all over the world, that we can go to the place to overcome that pain, wrong and death.
This lockout, no matter how long it lasts, will leave a lasting impression on the league as well as your already tarnished record.
I hope that you are able, sometime soon, reach an agreement with the NHLPA and end this lockout.
…not much more you can say.