The NHL lockout will be over soon and I have mixed emotions about it. I am an arena staff worker who dreamed of working for the NHL one day, preferably the Detroit Red Wings full time in marketing/social media. The collateral damage this lockout has done is too much to ignore.
How can you alienate 100,000+ fans plus sponsors for a big event like the Winter Classic? How does this affect the NHL and how do they just ignore what they have done to the industry they love?
When this is said and done, how is the NHL going to recover as a brand? Your best employees are your biggest cheerleaders and largest assets you have in a business. But when you ignore them, trim down their hours and if they live based on a commission, how are they supposed be to happy?
The little people struggled, the everyday Joe’s who depend on this job for a living. They chose to go into sports knowing there is long hours with little pay. They do this for the love of the game, but when the game doesn’t respect you or give you a reason to stand by them. Is it enough?
Business partners have been burned and from the looks of it Kraft might have backed out of their sponsorship in Canada. To most Americans who don’t get CBC and Hockey Night in Canada they might see this as a small thing. The truth is Kraft brought together old rickety ice rinks and gave them funding to the community who deserved it the most by voting. I wish Americans could have had this kind of promotion. The kids in the community benefited by having their hockey heroes come and play a pre-season game there, they got funding to fix the rink, and the community got recognized nationally. It just hurts me to see this go by way side because the league burned the bridge. Kraft Hockeyville was one of the things I looked forward to seeing during Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.
Leadership has to change for change to really happen in the NHL. If every eight to ten years there will be a work stoppage will the full time employees and some of the part time staffers look for other places to work? I love the game and I had a different view of this lockout which was really frustrating me.
The brand is damaged and I am sure sponsors and television networks are just as frustrated as the fans. They should have been working this hard months ago before the Winter Classic was trashed for the year. You have a product where there is a large chain of businesses that depend on your product to survive. It is when you think of them and solve the problem before it gets to this huge level that you have a better understanding.
If employees have suffered and they are your greatest brand ambassadors, die hard fans are ticked, then who will bring your brand back from the dead?