There’s more than one cliff North America approaches and, even as US President Barack Obama hopes to steer clear of the “fiscal cliff,” the NHL is trying to avoid a cliff of their own. After 107 days of the NHL Lockout, fans are steaming at a lack of hockey in their lives. Just in time, perhaps, to save everyone, Canada has a plan.
Canadians announced today that their teams are withdrawing from the NHL and immediately forming the Hockey League of Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has budgeted that every major city in Canada will have its own Hockey team if they don’t already have one. For example, this includes Goose Bay, Iqaluit and Whitehorse. They are inviting all Canadian hockey players to ditch their American teams and come play on a new league immediately.
“It’s Canada, so players can be assured that they will receive great pensions and healthcare, without having to barter their lives and careers away for that,” Dermott Mulchahy said in a statement to the press this afternoon outside of Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks. After Muchahy spoke, GM Mike Gillis of the Canucks said, “What choice do we have? We have an obligation to our Canadian fans, our charities, and our players. Playing them is better than not playing them. Playing them is the only option.” He looked around the room. “Canadians and hockey fans in general are fed up.”
Players will be chosen in a lottery so that every city has the chance of winning star players. This completely shakes up any of the teams–but many already believe this will be a good thing. The new games begin on February 1st. Mulchahy, as President of the newly formed Hockey League of Canada, believes that fans will be so excited to see hockey happening that they won’t care if it’s called NHL or HLC. And American cities, still mired in the negotiations for their hockey teams, minus Canadian players who defect and come back home, will probably find themselves watching HLC games and not caring if the NHL ever forms again.
Farm teams in the south, like the Odessa Jackalopes, are being offered the chance to come play major league hockey right away, adding a lot of surprise, and fresh blood, to the game. “Me and my buddies, we’re already heading north!” said Jamie Gonzalez, one of the best scorers in the Jackalopes.
Whitehorse, Yukon, already knows the name of their team, the Dawson City Nuggets, even though the team will play in Whitehorse. “It’ll bond our two cities together,” said Whitehorse mayor, Dan Curtis. “We couldn’t be more thrilled.”
If the NHL does not reach an agreement by midnight January 1st, the HLC goes into effect in Canada. Canadians are now hoping that the NHL never gets their act together.
“Come home,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement today to Canadian hockey players worldwide. “Come back home to Canada and play your hearts out. We’ll tend your goals.”
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