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Channeling our anger – there are productive ways to do it

March 10, 2011

It is understandable that many fans are upset about the NHL’s decision, but one of my favourite things to say is <<On se calme, la>> and I’ve never meant it more.

I think that even a lot of people who thought it was an unfortunate accident were taken aback when the NHL didn’t even give Chara a game or a fine. I think they were expecting at least a game, and when it didn’t happen, they got a little uncomfortable with it, especially given Pacioretty’s injuries. That’s why we’re seeing some people re-examine their initial opinions.

Habs fans are obviously apoplectic. I’ll be really honest, I knew he wasn’t going to get many games, but I never, ever, ever expected the NHL to do NOTHING. I had taken for granted that Chara would get suspended at least two games, because no supplemental discipline was an unfathomable decision to me. I thought there was no way that could possibly happen.

The thing is, what the NHL did by not suspending or fining Chara was unleash an avalanche of ridiculousness.

I’m not even going to waste time talking about the people who said the Habs should retaliate on the ice. Unless they’re talking about retaliating by taking the division lead from the Bruins and hopefully sweeping them the fuck out of the playoffs they wouldn’t be in if Tim Thomas had played like even an above-average goaltender.

Habs fans are planning at least two protests that I’ve heard of. What do you think is going to happen, during these protests? Riots wouldn’t be surprising. I’ve never believed in first-world protests, especially ones that lead to property damage, or worse, injury. If you want to change something, act, don’t yell and certainly don’t burn shit.

Act, but not irresponsibly.

Once the decision was made public, Habs fans took to calling 911 and clogging emergency services with their complaints (this was apparently a suggestion from a media personality). What good did that do to anyone? How is preventing emergency services from getting to people who really need it going to help anything?

This morning, we learned that Montreal police, upon recommendation from the provincial prosecutions office, has launched an investigation into the hit. This is unlikely to result in anything and diverts public resources from other things that need it, but for a minute this morning, I was glad SOMEONE came out and said that you can’t just LITERALLY break someone’s neck and get away with it without so much as an examination of your actions. Still, why did it have to come to this? If the NHL had suspended Chara at all, do you think it would have come to this?

Last night, Air Canada released a letter it had sent the NHL, CCing the Canadian teams, threatening to pull their sponsorship of the league. Reaction to this was all over the place. “PR stunt,” said the cynics, understandably so. “Wow. I’m so impressed,” said the rest of us, also understandably. Here’s the thing. I agree that this looks suspicious. Many people are pointing out that the airline industry is about to take a hit because of gas prices and they need all the good PR they can get. But here’s what Air Canada has done: they’ve set themselves up for a PR nightmare if they don’t actually follow through. I’m very curious to see how this plays out. Either Air Canada can get some other sponsors (like Honda, Tim Hortons, and Scotia Bank) on board the talking bandwagon and keep talking until the NHL hears them, or they can not do what they said they would have and look insanely bad. I don’t think they’re going to pull their dollars, but oh, how I wish they would. Also, I applaud Air Canada, but if I couldn’t afford a ticket to where I wanted to go, this act does not make me any more able to afford a ticket there, so, like, they didn’t gain a customer.

So what do you do, when you feel like you need to do something, anything about this, and you are angry?

Well. This is a tough one. There are a lot of things we love, like hockey, coffee, cars, bank accounts, and most importantly, beer. We also feel like one person alone is a drop in the ocean, and can’t effect change. I often feel that, especially when it comes to women’s issues, and lately, body image issues.

Maybe we can’t change the world, but we certainly don’t have to support things we don’t agree with. Last night, on Twitter, there was an Unfollow NHL campaign, where fans who disagreed with the decision stopped following the NHL’s official Twitter account. I heard multiple people say they were cancelling their NHL Center Ice package. I saw somebody talking about cancelling their Panthers season tickets, hitting the NHL where it hurts – down South. I was going to cancel my Bell subscription anyway. This morning, my coworkers went on a Tim Hortons run. I did not, and will not, buy anything from Tim Hortons unless the NHL takes action. I will not buy any more clothes from Reebok unless the NHL takes action. I will not go to McDonald’s, buy a Honda, put my hard-earned dollaz in a ScotiaBank account, use Energizer batteries, drink beers from breweries that may fall under the NHL sponsor brands, drink Gatorade, buy Kraft foods products (this one will be a nightmare-Kraft owns everything), or go to Canadian Tire until the NHL takes some action that clearly demonstrates that they give a shit about their players’ lives.

And this is the hardest one: No more Habs games, no more Habs jerseys. OUCH.

I’m just one person, and none of these corporations care that they are no longer getting a cent of my money. But at least I know I am not supporting companies or people that support what the NHL just did. That’s the only rational thing I know to do.

On se calme, la.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jon Gasco permalink
    March 10, 2011 2:26 pm

    Well said!

  2. Lissa permalink
    March 10, 2011 3:49 pm

    I’m sending a letter to each of the corporate sponsors, which you can find here: If you’re interested in having your name included, I will be doing so today/this evening. I also wanted to channel my anger, and the Air Canada letter thoroughly inspired me. The NHL understands MONEY and this might make them wake up!

    Great article!

  3. March 14, 2011 1:35 pm

    Why punish the Habs? Geoff Molson has stood up to be counted. Maybe no more buying jerseys or buying tickets, but I’m sorry. No way can I not watch les gars. No way I can’t cheer for them.

    Go after the sponsors, by all means. But it was the guys on the ice who were hurt by what happened to MaxPac and I’m not adding to that.

  4. mbouf permalink
    March 18, 2011 11:38 am

    Wait, are you actually not watching ANY Habs games, or shopping at any of those stores associated with the NHL? If you are, then I applaud you because I, for one, could never give up all those things. It’s crazy how many big names sponsor the NHL.

    But I do agree with Tec4, you should still watch Habs games. Don’t punish yourself and the team because of the NHL’s stupidity.

    Great article though, well said

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