I don’t recall where I first heard this to be honest, but it is so damn true. If you break up with someone and you’re yelling and screaming at each other, you may hate each other, but hate is fixable because you still care. Otherwise why are you even bothering with it? But if you breakup with someone and forget they exist as soon as you press send on that text (at least that’s how I breakup with girls….) that isn’t fixable.
May as well talk about the Oilers mess some more! Why not? It’s so easy to pick apart. You know that piece last week was over 4,300 words. Far and away the longest piece I have done that wasn’t a mock draft or a season preview. But this one isn’t so much ripping on the organization, it is more so a comparison of two fan bases and how to get the front offices attention. And for once in my life, I’m going to praise the most mocked fan base not just in this part of the world, but in the league.
That would be the Vancouver Canucks and their fans. Now, the Canucks are a pretty big mess as well. The Aquilini’s are proving to be a real side show as owners of the team, and now Trevor Linden who has exactly zero games of front office experience, zero days as any kind of executive in any type of business, is now the President of Hockey Operations.
Like most hockey fans, not just Canuck fans, I LOVE Trevor Linden. But this is 100% a PR move. And yesterday I spoke in my piece on the Avalanche how that is simply not how you run a team even though it has worked out for them….well I believe it will inspire a lot of spin off’s around the league and we may already be seeing this in both Vancouver with Linden and Toronto with Brendan Shanahan coming in next week.
Now, while I don’t like the move by Canucks ownership, a serious change was brought on by the fan base. How did they do this? Apathy. Fans quit going to Canuck games this season. The day Gillis was fired I believe was the day before the deadline for season ticket renewals, which were rumored to be way down. Chanting fire Gillis at Monday nights game might look like the reason on the surface, but it was the apathy shown by the people who weren’t in the building and they showed no signs of returning any time soon.
Which leads me to the Oilers. The problem this fan base has is that they’re too passionate about this team, and won’t stop paying for the tickets. Booing the team, throwing jersey’s on the ice, putting “fire Lowe” signs up around town definitely make the organization look bad nation wide and allows the national media to destroy them, but it doesn’t get Katz attention.
Oh sure, he comes out with some fake and completely insincere apology in the newspaper and hopes it gets people to simmer down. But the reality is that it’s embarrassing but it’s not really hurting him. What would hurt is if fans acted more like they did last night. Last night I didn’t notice any booing (not that I watched a lot of the game), but the fans didn’t care. Seats were still filled, but it is a start.
I’m sure right about now a die hard fan is reading this and saying “I’ll never bail on my team”. Well wouldn’t you bail on a friend or a girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse who constantly screws you over and treats you like garbage?
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m well aware that I’m the guy who says they have to stick with MacTavish and Eakins right now because there has just been WAY too much turnover that has really hurt this team over the last 2 summers. But most fans don’t see things this way, and they demand change. Well then ACTUALLY do something that will force change. If Daryl Katz starts losing his season ticket holders, THAT is when he’ll start paying some serious attention to how his organization is being run.
Kevin Lowe should have been fired a loooonnng long time ago. He is the root of this mess, yet Katz hasn’t cared and just let him run the organization further into the ground. Why? In part because the building was full every night and remains this way even after they’ve become the worst franchise in sports over the last 5 years. Not hockey, sports. Oiler fans, if you want change start thinking with your heads, not your hearts and hit the organization where it hurts.
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