Dear Mr. Jacobs,
For the past seventeen years I have had the pleasure of calling myself a fan of the Boston Bruins. You see, I grew up watching Bryon Dafoe in between the pipes and Anson Carter and Ray Bourque holding the blue line. I was a fan through the demolition of the Fleet Center and creation of the Garden. I was also proud to call myself a fan through the 2011 Stanley Cup victory in 2011.
I’ve spent whole paychecks on tickets to attend games on Causeway street and hundreds of dollars in the Pro Shop and on fan apparel from various locations, all supporting your organization. However, with the current state of ‘negotiations’ it has become extremely hard for me to continue supporting you and the Boston Bruins team that I have grown up loving.
Since the end of the 2011-2012 season you have known that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement needed to be established. The off season presented you with almost four months of negotiating time and you were incapable of getting to the bottom of things. In fact, you didn’t even consider serious talks until two weeks ago, almost six months and 70 days into a lockout. In this time frame you have been ‘negotiating’ with Gary Bettman, the NHLPA and other fellow owners there have been absolutely no conclusions or middle ground met. The ‘negotitaions’ we are all hearing about are disgraceful and truly damaging to a sport that many of us have grown to love and cherish as if we created it and/or participated in it ourselves. The longer this lockout drags on, the harder it is going to be to come back. Being the second lockout in an 8 year span, there is more damage being done than good not only for the league as a whole, but for players and their families, sponsors, yourselves and most importantly us, the people who call ourselves YOUR fans. We are the same fans that spend $40 in parking, $25 for player tees, $150 for jerseys, $6 for soda, $9 for beer and $12 for loaded nachos on top of $200+ for tickets.
Now, as CSNNE reporter Joe Haggerty pointed out to Bruins fans and NHL fans alike, this isn’t Gary Bettman’s fault. No, it is YOUR fault. You are one of the key driving forces behind these ‘negotiations’ and YOU have the power to sway things one way or the other. Your problem? You are too hung up on winning. You don’t give a damn about the loyal fans who stuck with you after the horrendous 204-2005 lockout and watched as you threw away the franchise for the following two years. You had to degrade President Cam Neely PUBLICLY after he helped YOUR organization win a Stanley Cup after years of a Cup drought. It seems the popular trend here is YOU, Mr. Jacobs.
If you honestly and truly cared about the loyal fans of Boston, your team and the future of the NHL, you would be doing EVERYTHING in your power to come up with a solution and fast, not six months later still farting around. Instead, you seem to be doing quite the opposite, trying to squeeze every cent that you can out of the Players’ Association who have tried to meet you halfway 50/50.
Granted, Don Fehr isn’t a complete saint in these ‘negotiation meetings,’ I understand that there is more than meets the media, as we all do. However, he is representing the 726 players that make up the National Hockey League that willingly and gladly play one of the most brutal sports in the world. Players that miss out on cherishing moments with their families because of their dedication to this game. Players that play with every fiber of their being every single night on the ice to keep fans coming back to fill the stands that YOU receive profits on. They are the ones helping to put the additional money into YOUR pocket.
The key issue, you think they are making too much money. In reality, sure some players may be making too much money, okay. However, YOU, the OWNERS are the people who create and negotiate these contracts and SIGN them. Therefore, YOU should be honoring these contracts. Do you realize the long term damage you are doing to THIS particular organization by dragging this lockout on? As Haggerty pointed out,
The Bruins have the most money committed in player salaries over the next two seasons, and would be severely affected by a sudden drop in the salary cap. Even if NHL teams are given a one-year transition period to adjust to a plummeting salary cap, the Bruins will be bumping the cap ceiling in 2013-14 without a single proven NHL goaltender signed on for duty.
Why would you want to put YOUR team in that sort of position!? If putting your team in jeopardy isn’t enough to make you realize the damage you are doing by pushing 80 days into the NHL season, look at it through a different perspective.
Think of game day operations and the insane amount of people you have working. You have ticket staff, security guards, the box office crew, people working the Pro Shop, all of your vendors inside the arena, the Ice Girls, the janitors, ushers, cops and firefighters that all rely on these games and their revenue to make a living. How many of these people are now without a job or have had to take on a second job to support their families because you have decided to be greedy? Not only that, what about the outside businesses, the t-shirt sales at the end of EVERY game on the street corners and the ticket sellers on Causeway and street performers and local businesses that thrive on game nights and depend on your business to support theirs? Your business is what helps draw in customers to those surrounding you, by having this lockout, you aren’t only hurting those involved with the league and its fans, but people and businesses outside of the Garden as well. Now multiply that amount of people by 30, representing each team that makes up the NHL and that is a rough estimate of how many people’s lives you are ruining by dragging this on. Despite what you may think, each and EVERY city/town that is home to a current NHL team is just as important as the Original Six teams, no matter how long they have been established. The ‘new guys’ are just as important.
You, Mr. Jacobs have the power to help make this situation right. You hold the power to put an end to this. If you want to be considered a ‘winner’ try a different approach. Try swallowing your pride and buffalo-sized ego and putting your players, co-workers, employees and most importantly, your FANS first. It’s all up to you, do you want to be remembered as the guy who helped put an end to this BS, or the one who ruined the reputation and game of hockey? The choice is yours.