2 notes before I start on today’s topic.
Sonia & I still have not decided to open yet. We appreciate all your understanding & support during this time. We are working through this together.
This is also my most controversial opinion blog I will be writing!
I remember sitting in Rogers Place during the Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets game on March 11th. I was happily enjoying intermission, scrolling through Twitter. Suddenly, I received a notification on my Score app. The NBA was shutting down, 2 days after their first player tested positive for COVID. I was shocked. Everyone around us received the information at the same time. The mood in the crowd definitely shifted. You could feel it. I started to wonder if the teams knew what was happening. I started to go into denial. Well, the NHL is much more careful. They won’t have to cancel the season. It’ll be ok.
Driving home, I always put on the radio. I remember hearing the players. The media was asking about the future of the season. You could hear their thoughts & worry in their voices. I came home, quite sad and shocked. I immediately started preparing for the news of the NHL being cancelled. If you have been in the store, or follow us on social media, or know me in general; you all know how hockey/Oiler obsessed I am.
March 12 was the official announcement that the NHL would be on pause. I was shocked. I immediately started to get e-mails and texts from people asking if I was ok. Weirdly, I was. I would rather have the players & staff staying safe. Nothing is worth losing your health over.
One by one, leagues started announcing pausing of seasons. That seemed weird to me, which I will get to in a little bit. I got curious. Has there ever been a time when ALL leagues were put on hold…in our lifetime? The answer was no. The most interesting articles I read during my research was, sports was a very big happy time for a lot of people during 9/11. They had sports to fall back on and watch for some relaxation. This was un chartered territory.
I didn’t actually expect to be so relaxed about no sports. Maybe in my own mind, if I couldn’t go, no one else could either? I am happy that the commissioners and GM’s of all the leagues were looking out for the health and wellness of their staff & athletes. I knew my Oilers were all safe. I was (and still am) enjoying the little videos and interviews that are coming out. We all are getting to witness a more human side to athletes. Most are just like us. Even when it comes to awkward dances, food fails, workout fails. It’s a nice break.
Now, what did concern me, was the fact that the seasons were not being cancelled. Why? The scientists, doctors & facts were all pointing towards this pandemic to last us months. We are all being warned not to travel, unless it’s essential. We are being told to socially distance, wear a mask. How can a sport be played (minus solo sports), with following to the new normal?
When I started to hear the NHL was talking about starting, my first reaction (and still ) was anger. Cases are still high all across the world. Why are we endangering our fellow humans, for the sake of a buck? I know, in the case of the NHL, they are looking at hub cities. Which is great. But, there is so much more that needs to be considered.
Most NHL clubs play in the same arenas as the NBA in the USA. If the NBA also resumes around the same time, how are you going to keep locker rooms & arenas clean on such a consistent basis? Large gatherings aren’t allowed. I understand fans may not be allowed to go to games. But, when you factor in coaching staff, players, staff behind the scenes, that is a lot of people. Most won’t be able to social distance with their jobs. How often are they going to be tested? I understand teams will be quarantining together. But, if you are asymptomatic, if you’re playing a high contact sport, how can you keep sweat from hitting someone else?
USA also has not gotten a hold on their cases. We aren’t sure how many cases of COVID are actually in the States. So, will that mean cities with lower cases be ok to host? Could it be the first time Canada gets to host all of the teams? Ok, that I would allow.
There are so many factors that should be discussed that aren’t being discussed. That’s what worries me the most. I would love nothing more than sports to be back on tv. I miss seeing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl giving us highlight after highlight. But, I would much rather wait it out until later in the fall and start fresh. Most fans would secretly agree with me on that aspect. There has to be a point where the higher ups of the leagues (or any company for that matter) have to realize that a human life is not worth making a few extra million. What would happen if someone does contract COVID once the league resumes? The setback and consequences would be catastrophic.
As an Oiler fan, I am about to say something VERY trigger worthy. I personally think the season should be cancelled. Not just the NHL. NBA, CFL, NFL. Let everyone heal. Yes, our Oilers were in a playoff spot and quite honestly, a great position. But, give the cup to the top team and let the players who were at the top of the boards get their awards. Leon was having a career year. He needs to be rewarded for that.
I know the city of Edmonton & province of Alberta support our city for being a hub for the return of the season. I am all for that. Alberta does have one of the best responses and test rates of any province. I am proud of us for that. I just hope that we have the right regulations, before making any haste decisions.
If the NHL resumes, I will still support my team loudly and proudly in the comfort of my home.
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