Would hockey fans forgive and forget another lockout?

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In an HIO poll earlier this month, 59 per cent of more than 2,000 voters said they believe there will be an NHL lockout this season.

You have figure that number will grow after Gary Bettman told reporters in Toronto on Wednesday: “There’s still a wide gap between us with not much time to go.”

His comment came a day after the NHL Players’ Association gave its proposal to the league.

“I do think it’s fair to say that the sides are still apart — far apart — and have different views of the world and the issues,” added Bettman, who has made it clear he’s prepared to lock out the players when the current CBA expires on Sept. 15.

“I think it’s fair to say that we value the proposal and what it means in terms of its economics differently than the players’ association does,” Bettman said. “I think there still are a number of issues where we’re looking at the world differently. I’m not sure that there has yet been a recognition of the economics in our world — and I mean the greater world and the sports industry, taking into account what recently happened with the NFL and the NBA.”

 Would hockey fans forgive and forget another NHL lockout?

The NHL lost the entire 2004-05 season to a lockout and hockey fans in many cities – especially Montreal – seemed even more hungry for their fix when it was over. The Canadiens have sold out every single game since the lockout — including preseason games at regular-season prices.

Read more on the NHL labour talks by clicking here.

(Photo by Phil Carpenter/The Gazette)

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