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NHL All-Star Game

January 31, 2011

Am I bitter about not being invited to all of the festivities this weekend?

Not really. Over the past six years I have had enough time to get over it.

Back in the day, when In The Game not only had NHLPA and NHL licenses but also made the precious NHLPA Be A Player product, I was invited to all the events, everything first class. Stanley Cup Finals and every All-Star Game from Tampa in 1999 to Minnesota in 2004. I had the best seats in the house and so did my staff.

Now that I think of it, I remember April 18, 1999 when Ted Saskin and Bob Goodenow invited me to be their guests at Wayne Gretzky’s final game at Madison Square Garden. Oh how the mighty have fallen, not Gretzky but first me, then Goodenow, then Saskin.

Now I watched the All-Star game tonight at St. Louis Wings in Barrie, Ontario. Wings were great, game wasn’t.

Am I bitter, hell no. So please take my comments as they are meant.

I think now that the NHL has ruined the game of hockey, they are turning their attention to ruining the All-Star Game. Players on teams that used to hate each other, now hug and high-five each other. Where did the Young Stars Game go? Where did the Heroes of Hockey Game go? Replaced with a mock-draft so two players can choose their teammates and buddies. Why should one player be taken last. Isn’t bad enough that Phil Kessel has to play for the Leafs? How much can one young man handle.

The Skills Competition has been reduced to a circus and the game is a farce resembling the NBA basketball game, which I have never been able to watch because it is so boring.

I am old enough to have the privilege to have seen Tim Horton, Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau and Bobby Orr play our great game.

I have seen Bobby Hull take the puck at one end of the ice and rush to the other to unload a cannon of a slap-shot, no clutching and grabing. No two-man referee crews to call a gillion penalties. I could go on and on.

Like Brian Burke as the Leaf’s GM or not, Brian is a hockey man to the core. I watched his body language as he was interviewed over the weekend and I could tell he too was sickened by this event.

I read like you do about how well the NHL is doing but I don’t see how.

I was in Florida for a game between Boston and Florida and half of the seats were empty. Was at a game in Los Angeles last month, same thing. There are empty seats in Detroit, Columbus, Minnesota, Nashville, Dallas and let’s not forget the brave 2,000-3,000 fans that go to the games in Phoenix. Bringing that team to Canada was a very bad idea, right!

Hockey is the best sport in the world. I hope it stays that way.

Brian Price


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