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The NHL players: Just making an honest living?

SPRINGVILLE — Surprise, surprise. The NHL’s coddled players who get paid by the million for spending half of the year “working” at what can only be called hobbies are demanding more money. The country’s team owners are on the other side of this tug-of-war, also demanding more of the pot. Or else they will all go pout in the corner and refuse to play.

While the rest of America is in a recession, and hard-working men and women are sitting at their kitchen tables, scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to keep their homes from foreclosure, miffed athletes and their team owners are squabbling over collective shares of the billions of dollars racked in, each hockey season. Money that came from – wait for it – us, the fans. The poor people to whom 10 percent of these players’ yearly salaries would feel like a windfall.

How has America gotten to this point? Why do we hand over millions of dollars to guys holding sticks and racing around an ice rink, while millions of Americans are without jobs? And, even greater than that injustice, how can the NHL as a whole – players, directors and owners – slap their fans in the face by not only raising their prices and salaries, in a day and age where the average blue-collar worker counts him or herself lucky to have not received a pink slip yet, but to squabble this vehemently over minute percentages of the giant lump of cash they rake in every season?

My grandmother would call the whole lot spoiled and overindulged. Early hockey players – the real ones who skated around without extra padding and took the hard knocks without the glory, just because they loved the sport – would be aghast at the behavior exhibited by these people.

Of course, this goes beyond the NHL. The NFL was in a similar situation, just last year. The lives of these athletes are so disproportionate to other Americans’ who are just trying to make an honest living, that the players actually seem to think they deserve another million or so, to pad their already-generous bank accounts. Give me a break.

It should not be too much to ask that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League Players’ Association utilize the proverbial olive branch and get down to business, so that Mr. or Mrs. American Worker can go home at night and watch the game.

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