The biggest story in the hockey world today is that the NHL is currently locked out until a new bargaining agreement, which expired on September 15th, can be agreed upon by the NHLPA and the league. What people are not talking about, is the trickle down effect it has had on the Ohio University Division-Two Club Hockey Team, who have decided to lockout the upcoming season unless a new bargaining agreement with the ACHA can be made.
The D-2 Bobcats, who of course play in the prestigious Southeastern Midwest Lakeside Jurisdiction Hockey League, or SEMWLSJHL, have refused to touch the ice after the Gatorade vending machine in their home arena’s lobby was changed from $1.25 to $1.75.
8th-year Captain Nicholas Frasse had this to say on the situation, “People don’t think $.50 is a big deal, but do you have any idea how expensive it is to park under Baker?” He would continue to say, “This was just the last straw, they are making us decide between parking in a metered spot, and getting our daily electrolytes.”
The Bobcats, who had their inaugural season in 2010, have made great strides in the last few years. For example, their first tryout consisted of attending a rigorous meeting where Graduate Student and Head Coach at the time Matt Staehely had to make sure the players showed full commitment.
“I made them sign their names on a sheet of paper and be at most of the practices on time,” Staehely noted on the grueling first season.
Since then, The D-2 heroes from Ohio University have instated former Mr. OU, former manager of The Junction, and former Division 1 Club standout Phil Oberlin to take over the reigns, and things have escalated ever since.
“Our tryout consists of them scrimmaging now,” Oberlin said, “we figured it would be easier to judge their talent if we actually saw how good they were at the game.”
Last year, the D-2 “Bobkittens” finished an impressive third place in the SEMWLSJHL, and watched as attendance for home games skyrocketed. During a Friday Night game against West Virginia, there were over 50 people in the stands to watch them warm-up. Most of them however, were simply trying to leave the rink after attending the D1 game, but overcrowding helped the D2 team win over some fans.
“That’s who those guys were?” said 47-year-old Ron Thomas, an Athens resident for the last ten years, “I thought they were an intramural team or something.”
After making these strides, the Division 2 Club Hockey team decided that they would not continue to play until the ACHA and SEMWLSJHL agreed to renegotiate their bargaining agreement. Some of the matters at hand are:
- The amount of pucks to practice with be raised from 25 to 35.
- Each player shall receive their own spot in the cage for their equipment.
- A paid trainer, preferably an undergrad female, attend at least one of every four practices.
- The ice to be zamboni’d before every practice, not just went the staff feels like it.
- The Gatorade Vending Machine in the lobby of Bird Arena to be reduced from $1.75 to $1.25.
This lockout could be long and devious, and the players have decided to stand by their teammates as they demand more from the leagues in which they contribute so much.
“We put dozens of people into the stands every year who don’t pay a dime to watch us play,” former football player turned hockey player in college Tyler Smith said, “imagine all the money we are generating for them just through that!”
One thing is for sure, the amount of people that will be affected by these lockouts could easily climb into double digits, but the players know they deserve better, and as the Beastie Boys once said, they will fight for their right to party.
The ACHA and SEMWLSJHL were both unavailable for comment, as neither knew this was even happening.