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Hockey stoppage won't go over well with ordinary fans

Nov 27, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

One of the events we'll miss this holiday season had become a tradition of sorts on New Year's Day.

Because of a National Hockey League owner's lockout, the annual Winter Classic, a game in which two NHL teams battle outdoors in venues such as Wrigley Field in Chicago, Fenway Park in Boston and last year at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, has been scrapped this year. The entire season is again in jeopardy.

It's too bad for the game and its fans, even for those of us here in Wyoming.

Maybe Monday's decision in which the owners and players agreed to non-binding federal mediation can help salvage the season. Maybe it won't.

Maybe the president should throw his weight into this mess.

It's happened before -- the president being awfully concerned about hockey in the United States, that is.

When the United States sent a team to the World Hockey Championships, the president was less than pleased when the boys representing the U.S.A. did not perform to his expectations.

Here is how the president's phone call went to his old friend David Hackett.

"Dave," the president said. "I noticed in the paper this morning where the Swedish team beat the American Hockey team 17-2. Christ! Who are we sending over there, girls? Who got them up? ...I would like to find out what was done. Under what sponsor and what kind of players they got. Because I think it's a disgrace to have a team (lose) 17-2. That is as about as bad as I have ever heard. It's a disgrace. We shouldn't send a team unless we can send a good one. Will you find out about it?"

Wow. President Kennedy called the U.S Hockey team a bunch of "girls" in March of 1963.

Can you imagine if President Obama would have uttered those same words?

President Obama has weighed in on the current hockey owners lockout, telling Jay Leno during his campaign in October, "You know, I do have a comment on this," Obama said. "Every time these things happen I just want to remind the owners and the players, you guys make money because you've got a whole bunch of fans out there who are working really hard. They buy tickets, they're watching on TV. Y'all should be able to figure this out. Get this done."

We hope it does get done soon.

Of course our country has bigger problems with the fiscal cliff approaching, the weak recovery trying to gain strength, and unrest in the Middle East.

But sports are important to our nation's fabric. We like to compete. We want our teams to have success. We like to escape while we are rooting for our team. Sports are part of our heritage and help us move forward and that is not lost on folks, even our Presidents.

On a local level, we again get to enjoy competition and root for our teams this weekend when Wolverine Gym will be filled with boys and girls high school basketball Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday.

In fact, the Lander vs. Riverton games are on tap Friday night.

Let's support our teams. Our players and coaches don't need to be reminded to work hard and give us all they have. Apparently the pros, at least in hockey's case, seem to have forgotten that concept.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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