On Sept. 16, 2012, at midnight, the NHL officially locked out its players for the second time in eight years.
But after 119 days of back-and-forth negotiations between team owners and players, hockey fans finally got the news they were waiting for: the lockout was officially over.
It took one simple check of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to realize how much fans missed their beloved sport. Tweets and statuses flooded the Internet from both avid fans and players.
Claude Giroux, the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, was one of many players to tweet about his excitement after hearing a deal had been reached, tweeting: “It’s a beautiful day for hockey #GameOn #missthegame.”
As for fan reaction, Robert Cooper, a freshman at the University of Massachusetts, was overjoyed when he heard the news that the lockout was over.
“When I woke up the morning it had ended, I immediately went online and began searching for tickets for the opening game,” Cooper said. “As a Philadelphia Flyers fan, this is the most excited I’ve been for a hockey season in a while.”
Throughout the course of the lockout, several NHL players traveled overseas to play in Europe. Players such as Giroux, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Ilya Kovalchuk took advantage of their time during the lockout to stay in shape and play in some of Europe’s top hockey leagues.
Eric Beaudette, also a freshman at UMass, said he is happy to see his favorite player, Ovechkin, back on the ice.
As for his opinion on the lockout situation, he said, “I think the problem was the owners wanted more money while the players just wanted to keep it even. The important thing is hockey is back.”
While many were ecstatic to hear about the return of the NHL, others like sport management major Troy Sousa-Semper weren’t.
“I have never been a fan of the NHL, and after how long this lockout went, I have no interest in watching a 48-game season,” Sousa-Semper said. “I find it extremely strange that fans are able to find any kind of excitement with a shortened season.”
No matter how fans feel, hockey is back and it will be a 48-game sprint to the playoffs in which anything can happen.
Key lockout dates
Sept. 16, 2012: NHL lockout officially begins.
Sept. 21, 2012: Scheduled date for opening of NHL training camps (Cancelled)
Oct. 11, 2012: Scheduled start for the beginning of the NHL regular season (Cancelled)
Oct. 19, 2012: Third week of regular season is cancelled, leaving no room for a full season.
Nov. 23, 2012: Regular season games through Dec. 14, and 2013 All-Star Game are cancelled.
Jan. 6, 2013: A tentative deal is reached to end the NHL lockout.
Jan. 9, 2013: NHL owners vote in favor of ratifying the new collective bargaining agreement.
Jan. 12, 2013: NHL lockout is officially over.
Jan. 19, 2013: NHL shortened regular season begins.
Jason Kates can be reached at email@example.com.