Fan group plans Saturday Bell Centre protest

nohockeylockout

Gazette Sports Editor Stu Cowan wrote on his blog Friday about the anger growing among NHL fans at the owners’ lockout set to start at midnight. Well, one of the many fan groups that have sprung up in response is trying organize a number of protests around the NHL and one is scheduled for the Bell Centre on Saturday at 1 PM.

The website NoHockeyLockout.com, which launched a few weeks ago (they also have a Facebook page), has planned protests for Montreal, as well as New York, Boston and Tampa Bay. This website and the man behind all the protests goes by the name of Russell, which he says is an alias. In an email, he wrote he owns a small business in New York and declined to identify himself further because he didn’t wish to put his business and his 25 employees as risk.

“I know that the protest will not change the world but I feel it’s necessary for me to express my anger and my sadness when I see owners and players, all of them very comfortable economically, keeping us from having a season of watching our national sport,” Quintal said via email. “I would not feel right to let this happen without knowing that I did my small part.”

Unlike Russell, the organizer of the Montreal protest is known, 18-year-old Oliver Quintal, a Rangers fan from Île-Perrot. In an email, Quintal identified himself as a blogger who writes the MontrealerHockeyReport.com.

“While I am not naive enough to believe we will stop the lockout, I do hope to raise both fan awareness to the facts, as well as show the owners, in not just the NHL but all sports, that they cannot take the fans for granted anymore,” Russell said in his email. “We are only going to continue to get more organized and it is time they look to a new way to negotiate these deals fairly. Hopefully we will have enough of an impact to cause the owners to rethink their stance, and cave sooner rather than later.”

The New York protest will be in front of the NHL offices on 6th Avenue starting at noon. The Boston protest is at TD Garden, and the one in Tampa is at the Times Forum, where the Lightning play.

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