NHL Labor Strife: 5 Things Hockey Fans Can Do to Prepare for a Lockout
Lockouts are frustrating and boring for sports fans. Not being able to watch your favorite NHL players during the winter months is a nightmare for people who love hockey.
However, there are a number of things you can do to prepare for another possible lockout so you have stuff to keep you busy, and all the information needed to be aware of all the developments going on with the labor struggles.
Let's look at five things fans can do to prepare for a lockout.
See If There's an AHL Team Near You
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If there's an NHL lockout, the AHL will be the place to watch the best hockey in the United States. Since there's a good chance of a lockout, you should see if there's an AHL team near you that you can watch while the NHL labor negotiations continue.
Many talented NHL players with two-way contracts could play in the AHL this season if there is a lockout when the season is scheduled to begin on October 11. The new AHL season begins on October 12.
During the last lockout, a number of young players, including Patrice Bergeron and Jason Spezza, played in the AHL during the cancelled 2004-05 NHL season.
Having NHL players in the AHL will be very exciting for people who support these minor league teams. It will also give people more reasons to pay attention to the AHL and realize that there is some good hockey being played on a nightly basis.
To check out the complete AHL schedule for the 2012-13 season, click here.
Buy Tickets to Junior Hockey Games
Jonathan Huberdeau of the QMJHL
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Junior hockey will be the place to watch the best young stars of the future during the NHL lockout. Players on an NHL roster under the age of 20 will be eligible to play in junior hockey next season.
Notable stars such as Dougie Hamilton of the Boston Bruins and Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers could return to juniors next year and add to their already impressive resumes at that level.
The WHL, OHL and QMJHL are home to some of the most exciting hockey each year, but during an NHL lockout, the quality of competition would be even greater.
If you live near a junior hockey team, consider buying some tickets to help support hockey, and check out some future NHL superstars.
Monitor Where Your Favorite Players Are Going to Play
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NHL players won't just sit around and wait for the lockout to end when there are several competitive leagues to play in this season.
I've already talked about the AHL and junior hockey, and another option for players, especially veterans, is to play overseas in professional leagues.
Leagues in Switzerland, Russia and Finland are possibilities for NHL players.
Make Sure You're Getting the Latest Updates on the Labor Negotiations
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If there is an NHL lockout, you will need to make sure you aren't missing any updates on the labor negotiations.
The best way to do this is to keep a list of sources that will have all the information you need to be informed on the latest developments between the players and owners.
Here are some good places to check often during a lockout for news, opinion and video.
Buy the NHL 13 Video Game
If you don't want to watch the AHL or junior hockey leagues, and still want some NHL excitement during a lockout, buying the NHL 13 video game by EA Sports would be a good idea.
EA Sports' annual NHL video game is a must-own for kids and adults who enjoy video games or like to compete with friends.
NHL 13 should be another great installment in the series, especially since GM mode and the gameplay are receiving some awesome upgrades and changes.
This series is usually one of EA Sports' best-made games each year. The graphics are awesome, and there are plenty of game modes to keep you busy throughout a lockout.
The demo will be released on August 21, and the final game will be available in stores on September 11. You can download the game on September 7 if you have EA Sports Season Ticket.
Check out the NHL 13 page on EASports.com for full details on this year's features.