With apologies to Simon and Garfunkle (and the Bangles), it is rather hazy. Even though it’s not officially winter yet. There’s been a good amount of snow we’ve received, temperatures are very cool out (though, Environment Canada says we should get warmer weather next week), and to top it all off there’s an NHL Lockout and the possibility that the entire season will be scrapped.
There’s a good side to that. The latter point, that is. No NHL means no hockey broadcasts which means diehard hockey fans (does not include me) will have to go somewhere else for their fix. This means that leagues like the WHL, the SJHL and even down to senior leagues like the Sask Valley Hockey League should benefit. As an example, the Outlook Ice Hawks begin their season tonight with a tilt against the Conquest Merchants. It’s an exhibition game, so it really shouldn’t matter because it doesn’t count to the rest of the season. But it’ll be interesting to see the crowd support.
On the one hand, anytime Conquest is in town to play Outlook, there’s a good crowd. Granted, most of those people are from Conquest (seriously, we aren’t talking thousands of people in the rink, I don’t think it can hold over 500). So if there’s a good crowd tonight, it’ll be a so so indication, but we won’t know until the next home game against Lucky Lake on November 4. If there’s a good crowd on that night as well, then it might be a better indication of things to come.
Granted, the Ice Hawks haven’t been a powerhouse in the league over the years. That mark goes to the Rosetown Redwings. Who haven’t lost a game in two years. Still, there will be those NHL die hards who will show up for a lowly SVHL game just to get a fix.
The only real distraction that will come, might be if the Saskatchewan Roughriders make it to the Western Final or the Grey Cup, and a game is scheduled for that day. Then no one, even those at the arena, will be paying attention to hockey as our sights will squarely be on football.