“It’s [Finally] a Hockey Night in Pittsburgh!”

“It’s [Finally] a Hockey Night in Pittsburgh!”

By Alex Delazio

Staff Writer ‘13

Pittsburgh fans everywhere thought that this winter was going to be a long one without Pittsburgh sports; the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs, the Penguins were locked out of the Consol Energy Center, and the Pirates’ season ended way back in the fall!  All NHL players and fans alike could do was wait and see what would happen as the final deadline of the NHL lockout approached, a date which would cancel the entire 2012-2013 season if a deal was not reached.

According to the online Business Dictionary, a lockout is defined as, “industrial action during which an employer withholds work and denies employees access to the place of work. In effect it is a strike by the management to compel a settlement to a labor dispute on terms favorable to the employer”.

In this case, the employer is the National Hockey League headed by its commissioner, Gary Bettman, and the employees are the players who make up the NHL Players Association headed by its commissioner, Donald Fehr, who formerly held the same position for major league baseball players.

But why was there an NHL Lockout? Neither of these two sides could agree on how to divide $3.3 billion of revenue created in the past few seasons amongst themselves. Both sides argued that they deserved a larger portion of all profits which resulted in a stalemate lasting for 113 days until 6 am on Sunday, January 13th, 2013.

As the NHL Lockout finally came to a head, “Breaking News” appeared on news stations across the nation: The NHL lockout is over! After Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr eventually explained that their final meeting lasted almost 16 hours, they revealed that the NHL and NHLPA finally decided to split the revenue 50-50 and create a detailed deal that would last for ten years or until the end of the 2022-2023 NHL Season.

Most importantly, Pittsburgh has hockey to look forward to again!  The Pittsburgh Penguins are back and ready to skate their way to victory, one game at a time, during the abbreviated 48 game season. Their first game was away against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 19, 2013, followed by a game in Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers the next day.

Leading up to the beginning of their season, the Penguins held a series of special contests and opportunities for fans to get back into the hockey spirit in Pittsburgh. Seven days prior to the opening of the season, the Penguins opened online contests through social media for fans to enter to win special prizes such as season tickets, autographed jerseys, ticket packages and more. And, on the days of the first four games of Penguins’ season, all merchandise in the Pens Gear store is 50 percent off.

Additionally, the Penguins allowed fans to attend all of their training camp practices prior to the start of the season, which included a free Black and Gold scrimmage that sold out the entire Consol Energy Center and was televised on Root Sports. Fans filled the Consol Energy Center to see their favorite players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc Andre Fleury practicing and conditioning with their coach Dan Bylsma.

Clearly the practices and fan support paid off for the Penguins when their season finally did begin with the back to back games; the Penguins crushed both the Flyers and the Rangers kicking off the season with twin victories.

For the full schedule, visit www.Penguins.nhl.com, and in the words of famous Penguins commentator Mike Lange, finally, “It’s a hockey night in Pittsburgh!”