We're only a few hours away from the official end of the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement ratified in 2005, it expires at midnight tonight. Yesterday we noted some of the antics going on in the NHL from ownership groups and players... Today, it's the fans who get our attention.
It's been noted that fans protested in several locations today... Not huge numbers of people gathering around, but protests did happen. One location that had fans congregate to express disdain at the impasse between the NHL and NHLPA was at 401 Channelside Drive - yeah, right outside Times Palace.
A cynic can easily see this as a waste of time, the realist as well. But stating your beliefs publicly (while the rest of us are aggrieved silently or lost in cynicism) is to be commended.
Damian Cristodero has a write up of the protest. What got my attention was the team's response to things:
When protesters needed the bathroom, the Lightning allowed them to use the restroom in the nearby box office. The Lightning also ordered the group eight assorted pizzas.
That might not sound like a noteworthy or hugely outgoing move by the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, but it does reflect how the franchise approaches fan relations. These are people displaced by circumstances that are out of the control of both themselves and employees control. While all fans relationship with the National Hockey League itself are strained right now, the Bolts making this small gesture keeps their own relationship with the fans a lot healthier.