Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fans plan boycott campaign against NHL owners' businesses if lockout happens September 15

Will You Join the Hockey Fan's Revolt By Boycotting NHL Owners' others businesses if there's a lockout?

If Vancouver Canucks players like Daniel Sedin are put in the penalty box by owners, fans want to drop the gloves and be third man into the fight! - Bill Tieleman photo
Fans hatch plan to penalize NHL owners' businesses if they lock out players and risk the season

Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday September 11, 2012

By Bill Tieleman

View full article and comments:

"Oh! The good old hockey game / Is the best game you can name."

- Stompin' Tom Connors - "The Hockey Song"

A group of dedicated National Hockey League fans won't cry in their beer if team owners lock out their players. They are planning to take billionaire owners into the boards very hard.

How? By launching a consumer boycott of NHL team owners' other businesses -- including breweries and restaurant chains -- to penalize them for high sticking fans.

The website was set up along with a Facebook page and Twitter account to let fans take things into their own hands and wallets as a potentially lengthy lockout starts Sept. 15.

Rebellion of the '10,000aires'

The You Have Two Weeks campaign -- named because it was launched two weeks before the planned lockout -- has detailed NHL owners' other holdings as targets.

Those include high profile B.C. businesses like Denny's Restaurants, Moxies' Classic Grill, the Shark Club and Sandman Hotels -- all ventures of Dallas Stars' owner Tom Gaglardi, while Vancouver Canucks' owner Francesco Aquilini and his family's development empire is also listed.

Other major NHL franchises targeted include Toronto Maple Leafs' owners Bell Canada and Rogers Communications and Montreal Canadians' owner Molson Coors Brewing Company.

And while the fans behind the campaign say they aren't out to change the world, they are concerned about who will really get hurt by a lockout.

"I'm not trying to make this a noble cause -- we just want to watch hockey," T.J. Tully said in a Sunday interview from Edmonton, where he is a big Oilers fan.

But Tully points out that in addition to fans missing their good old hockey game, the real victims will be the thousands of modest income workers who have jobs at NHL arenas across North America.

"It's the millionaires fighting the billionaires but they're hurting the $10,000aires who work at the arenas selling food and beer and cleaning up," Tully says.

"The owners aren't worried about them. It's just one more corporate decision for hundreds of millions of dollars, but they don't see the real-life consequences," he said.

Just cut a deal

Tully says that the hockey season could start on time and negotiations continue simultaneously if it weren't for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

"I believe the owners could play under the old CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement] but Gary Bettman decided to go to a lockout," Tully said.

"Bettman told the owners, 'Fans came running back after the last lockout -- so let's lock the players out, maximize our leverage and the fans will come back again afterwards,'" Tully reasons.

So to balance the pressure, Tully and three friends set up the campaign to make the owners also face some heat -- since players won't have any income if a lockout starts.

But Tully says his group isn't really taking the players' side either.

"We have all this leverage on the owners and none on the players," he said.

Ultimately, Tully says, his campaign could just make the difference between a long, bitter lockout or a return to the rink on time for a full season.

"If we can convince even one owner to change their vote, it's worthwhile," he said.

The low budget campaign -- the website cost $100 and "a case of Stella" to put together -- is taking on some of the richest business people in the world, but that doesn't deter Tully.

And he isn't planning on getting rich off the campaign.

"We have no intention at all to make money on this website," Tully says, noting there aren't even ads on it.

But Tully and his friends think that their one penalty shot at owners just might score the winning goal.



Anonymous said...

Tully would have a better chance of tending goal for the Canucks for a mid season game against Columbus than this boycott actually making any difference.

Boycotts only hurt the workers, a reduction in customers means the Shark Club's cute waitress is going to be laid off before anything financially affects the Shark Club.

As for the Aquilinis, they are sitting on huge amonts of equity based on their land holdings, not any consumer level retail activity.

and people will still go into the liquor store to get a two-four of Canadian and then turn on TSN to watch the BC Lions roar.

It of course choice as to participate or not, but this boycott has the same chance of success as Christy Crunch does winning next year's election.

Anonymous said...

I will boycott NHL hockey "games" because they cost too much. The players demand too much( like all pro sport athletes) and the owners demand too much (like all pro sport owners.)

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't certain NHL club owners have financial problems in the past years? North Stars moved to Dallas because the tickets were too cheap and the franchise wasn't profitable. When the team relocated, it was popular for a while between 1998 and 2000 when they won the Cup. I remember going to a game there once and the visit was around 4500 people (regular season). My point is, not all the teams in the league have their arenas sold out. Can you blame the management? Maybe, but the truth is, if you want to save the league, you have to make some steps how to avoid certain teams from constantly fearing going bankrupt. Now, the article in 24H said that the players would not get paid. Wrong! Every NHLer would get a very generous invite from European team to play the season there, just like it was back in 2005 when all the big guns played in Europe getting not only decent paychecks, but also good experience playing on wider rinks. Plus, many of them had a chance to be close to their families. There are players in NHL who make absurd amounts of money. Fans are, however, angry at owners of the clubs because they see corporate incentives behind the whole thing. Yes, some of the owners would tap dance getting a bigger chunk of the pie from the players' salaries, but there are owners who simply want have that piece of mind and be able to compete with teams where such problems don't exist. I normally hold very liberal views, but in this case I'm on the other side saying it is the players who should budge an inch.

Ralph Tieleman said...

Go Jets !

Anonymous said...


Go Canucks.

Anonymous said...

I think we should boycott any company that advertises during any NHL games when they come back. If companies think their products will be boycotted they will pull their ads. In turn the networks won't give the lucrative tv deals to the NHL. This will cripple the greedy owners and players. I'm going to cancel my season ticket plan, sit at home enjoying free hockey while writing down each product I see during the breaks and then boycotting them.

kootcoot said...

As to the commenter above who cited the problems with the North Stars when they moved to Dallas, as a former Winnipegger I remember back before the Jets, maybe half of the crowd in the Twin Cities were Manitobans who commuted to home games. Thus when the Jets became an NHL team the Stars lost a big part of their fan base, I would figure, though I wasn't in Manitoba by then.

Then when the Jets were sent to the desert to die and become a welfare case, even extracting taxpayer dollars from Glendale (the suburban home of the Coyotes and NBA Sun), when all of Arizona (especially real estate which provides these extorted funds from non-hockey fans)is a ground zero for the housing crash. For more info on this see my 2010 piece What's Wrong with Arizona

Also once the coyotes went to die in the desert the Twin Cities got hockey back and voila the Wild seem to be doing alright. The American teams that do best are located where people have actual winter, or where many Canadian either live, or spend their winters like L.A. (the home of more Canadian ex-pats than anywhere) or Florida - I guess perhaps the many Canadians who winter in the desert in travel trailers aren't prosperous enough to take in Coyote games, except perhaps when their fav Canadian team is in town.

Perhaps the NHL should consider, eek, "Socialism" like that that allows the NFL to not only be a major money machine, but has revenue sharing among the teams that allows a small market team like Green Bay to not only be competitive but win the Super Bowl. When's the last time a small market team won the World Series?

The real answer though to the NHL lockout lies with Lisa Raitt. Since the players are willing and anxious to play under the existing contract as long as negotiations continues, it behooves Lisa Raitt to ORDER the owners of the seven Canadian teams to end the lockout and have a season between the Canadian teams (and Buffalo if they want to, being a depressed community and happy seller of tickets to many Canadian cross border fans). Obviously the lack of NHL hockey has a negative effect on the "holy economy" at least as great as having one airline grounded.

By the way, this is a battle between Billionaires (the owners) and mere Millionaires (the players) and the players gave up more than an inch last time, and this time around the owners want a few yards and aren't willing to budge at all. It is obvious the owners (except in cities that shouldn't even have a team due to lack of interest in Hockey) aren't hurtin' all that bad by simply looking at the last minute multi-million dollar contracts inked recently - before midnight EDT last Saturday

Anonymous said...

I really don't think a boycott will actually hurt anyone except the ones that need the games to make a living certainly not the billionaire players/owners.
I would support a campagin where the corportate tickets holders would donate one game to allow the kids to attend a NHL game. At current pricing a father and son can't hope to attend a NHL game. This way someone that actually appreciates hockey would get to see a game.