NHL LOCKOUT: Day 96 – More damage to the brand


April 12, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) waves to the crowd after defeating the Washington Capitals 1-0 during the first overtime period in game one of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

With the apocalypse bearing down us, the National Hockey League reminded us that it’s not just the end of the world, but the possible end of the hockey season. The NHL announced further cancellations of the 2012-13 NHL schedule. All the games to January 15th are now in the dustbin and it is very likely that the next cancellation announcement will be the end of the hockey year.

The current total number of games lost now stands at six hundred and twenty five. That means fifty point eight percent of the season is gone.  Half the season. If we follow the track record of lost games ove the last eight years, the NHL’s track record is pretty bleak. The league has cancelled seventeen point seven percent of their regular season games since 2004. One in six games lost. The league is in free fall, the brand name is being severely bruised, and the fan base is equally parts apathetic and furious.

Meanwhile, the NHLPA is currently undergoing a vote among their constituency. This vote on will push the disclaimer of interest action that would effectively shut down the union.  If this plays out the players will begin to file anti-trust lawsuits against the league. This could also lead to the league to cancel all current player contracts depending on possible rulings in federal court. To further complicate this mess, having the players all negotiate individually will lead to further devastation of the NHL brand.

So, with the Mayans declaring that the end of the world is tomorrow, and today the league is all but declaring the end of the season. Even if we get hockey back, it won’t feel the same. Two major catastrophes in the last decade. An ownership that is more than willing to destroy its own fan base in order to make a few more dollars.  Frachises that were placed in cities, knowing they would fail. It’s a mess that has gone way beyond tragedy.