Fan-in-chief weighs in on hockey lockout
December 14th, 2012
11:38 AM ET
2 years ago

Fan-in-chief weighs in on hockey lockout

(CNN) - The standoff between owners of professional hockey teams and their players has left the ice empty and the sport's fans in the penalty box.

President Barack Obama weighed in on the months-long dispute in an interview on Thursday, chastising both sides to "remember who it is that's putting all that money in their pockets."

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"My message to owners and to players is: you guys make a lot of money and you make a lot of money on the backs of fans, so do right by your fans," he said in the interview with WCCO, a CNN affiliate in Minnesota.

The National Hockey League has canceled games through the end of this month, scrapping over 500 matchups in a season which was set to start in mid-October.

The league and player's association leadership met with federal mediators this week, according to a posting on the NHL website Thursday. The hockey commissioner has previously suggested that if the season does not resume by sometime in January, too much of the season will have passed for the Stanley Cup playoffs to be held in the spring.

A previous labor dispute scrapped the entire 2004-2005 season.

Obama said in the interview that he "shouldn't have to be involved in a dispute between really wealthy players and even wealthier owners. They should be able to settle this themselves."

He has declined to pick sides in past sports labor disputes, too, though he has encouraged the sides to come together.

"Is it just me or do we have to get our regular refs back?" he told an Ohio radio station in September when National Football League officials were locked out by their league. "I can't get involved with it, but I'm just expressing my point of view as a sports fan."

And in November 2011, he gave a thumbs-up to news that a tentative resolution to a National Basketball Association lockout had been reached. "Good deal," he told reporters, emerging from playing a game of hoops himself.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. just askin

    who cares what obama thinks about hockey?

    December 14, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. The REAL Truth...

    The POTUS is correct. It's NOT his job to intervene.
    However, the best thing the fans can do to send the NHL as message – once this mess is resolved – is vote with their pocket! Don't pay those exorbitant fees that keep those high-priced children VERY well paid, and the owners raking it in. These folks do this because its PROFITABLE. If you don't like the striking/issues.. don't pay to go see them ! SIMPLE!!

    December 14, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Emerson

    Fans should make it be known that once this gets settled, they will not attend the first ten home games of their teams. Let the owners, players, Fehr and Bettman hear the silence to remind them who is really turning the wheel in this game.

    December 14, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Tony

    Mr. President, now that you are on the subject of sports, please get somebody (I nominate the Guggenheim group that owns the Dodgers) to take over the Lakers and hire Phil Jackson.

    December 14, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. Kelby in Houston, TX

    WHO CARES ABOUT HOCKEY?!?!
    America's 5th favorite sport is having a lockout...OH NO!!!

    December 14, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. judy

    the president is right. The fans need to express their displeasure.

    December 14, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It was nice to see the president speak to what is on the mind of many Americans. Unlike Kelby in Houston, there are many of us who like to see the game that requires strength and balance.

    December 14, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Tony in Maine

    Unfortunately, Mr. President, the fans do not have a seat at the table. If you remove Jeremy Jacobs from the room, you improve the probability that the two sides will come together.

    as for those who would turn this into yet another political food fight, please grow up.

    December 14, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. OhPleaseYerKillinMeSTOP

    Isn't this primarily a Canadian problem?

    December 14, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Kef14

    The NHL lockout is just like battles in congress. Both sides more interested in "winning" than actually making a deal that is best for both sides and the long term stability. And in both cases, the only people that really lose in the end are the ordinary people.

    December 14, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |