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More blackouts, no more fans

Bob Johnson, Cleveland

I've been hearing how the NHL is trying to promote the sport ever since the lockout. Yet each year the blackouts seem to range further and further away from the team’s home ice.

It started with the pre-season games being blocked. Now this year it seems to be about 80 percent of the televised games. I live in Cleveland, Ohio. There isn't an NHL team within two hours of me, yet I have had a Philly/Atlanta game, a Bruins/Oilers game, a Leafs/Sabres game, a Jackets/Blackhawks game, and a Penguins/Red Wings game blacked out.

In every case I have been told it’s because I live in the blackout area of these teams. Are you kidding me? I'm beginning to think if the game is on my side of the Mississippi I won't be able to watch it.

I've written the NHL, DirecTV and the NHLPA. Everyone blames the other guy and that's only when they actually take the time to answer my letters. In the end, just as with the DirecTV/Versus fight it’s me, the fan, who gets the dirty end of the stick.

It's not a game anymore, it’s a business and the only consideration is money, not fans. I for one have become so tired of it that I've started to think about giving up on the sport all together. The Browns left town and haven't been the same since their return and it’s no longer outside the realm of reality for me to turn them off and not follow the game.

Sadly it appears I'm going to be forced down the same road with the NHL. This year, if it wasn't for the NHL channel I would see very few games, but even they have cut Hockey Night in Canada down to just the first half.

So, if the idea is to promote the sport, they’re going to have to explain to me how they’re doing it. I have yet to see any real appeal to the fans for support other than to bombard us with pleas to spend more money.


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