Life without Rangers Hockey, what the 2005 Lockout taught us
February 16, 2005, after several months of brutal, arduous, incendiary and ultimately, futile negations, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman officially announces the termination of the 2004-05 season. Bettman and his NHLPA counterpart Bob Goodenow, were not able to find enough common ground to agree on a collective bargaining agreement and end the owner’s enforced Lockout. Therefor, the NHL, for the first time in its history which dated back to 1917, would lose an entire season due to labor strife and no Stanley Cup champion would be awarded.
Coping with the Lockout of 2005
As a die hard New York Ranger fan, I was beyond devastated. Even though the Blueshirts were coming off of seven consecutive non-playoff seasons, or as I like to call it, the “Dark Ages” not having Ranger hockey as an option to indulge at 7pm on any given day was tantamount to having your best friend move to the other side of the country.
For better or for worse and much to the chagrin of my wife and the rest of my family, the Rangers are my life. Grabbing the remote control and flipping on the MSG Network to watch my boys in blue is my sanctuary. Win or lose, being able to forget about reality for a few hours and watch my heroes try and score one more goal than the opposition is shear nirvana. Heck, even during my honeymoon on the beautiful Caribbean island of St Maarten in April of 2017. I dragged my newly minted wife to a sports bar so I could watch the Rangers and Montreal Canadians in the playoffs. Thankfully, she was a good sport about it.
If you’ve seen the iconic 1980’s movie “Rain Man” the scene in which Raymond, played by Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman, was not going to be able to watch “The People’s Court”.yeah. that is kind of how I am if there is a Ranger game on and I don’t have access to a television. Whomever the genius was that invented the DVR should be given the Nobel Prize for everything!
On July 13th 2005, Bettman, Goodenow and their respective delegations finally came to their senses, agreed on a CBA and the NHL would soon reopen for business ending our long, national nightmare.
Dealing with the Pause of 2020
March 12th, 2020, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announces a “pause” to the 2019-20 season. 15 years prior, the league shut its doors because of greed, egos, stubbornness and vindictiveness. This time around, the reason why there is no Ranger hockey for me to watch is because of a virus. A Corona Virus. A bug, one billionth the size of a full grown human being, is strong enough to not only make the NHL suspend operations, but also halt in its tracks every other sports league in North America. The unprecedented precautions of shutting down professional and amateur sports and temporarily banning large groups of people in any capacity is certainly understandable and necessary to mitigate the onslaught of new positive Covid-19 tests.
As the world’s best doctors, scientists and virologists do everything in their power to find vaccines and treatments for this dastardly novel illness, Ranger fans, as were were in 2005, are forced to wait an unspecified amount of time until the “pause” is lifted and arenas are allowed to entertain guests and patrons.
In the grand scheme of reality, the health of our population, especially those who are more vulnerable like the sick and the elderly, is way more important than a bunch of skating men using their wooden sticks to knock a black, circular piece of vulcanized rubber into a 6 foot by 4 foot space. However, I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss having a Ranger game to watch and a Ranger team to root and there is definitely a void in my life as we wait for this virus to be destroyed and for life to return to normal.