Out of the Hockey Bag and Into the House?

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As you can probably tell from my lack of blogs recently, the off-season has been pretty rough on me. I mean, just how many blog posts can you write about what might happen or the potential lockout? It is just too depressing. I decided I would share something new and cool that produces far less anxiety.

One of my friends from grad school, Jonathan Merrill, started a business building furniture out of… wait for it…hockey sticks.

Although he is just getting started, he already sold a Capitals hockey-stick chair online for $800. Pretty cool, right?

Other creative collectibles include a coat rack made out of stick blades and picture frames/puck holders made from broken sticks.

When I asked Jonathan about how he got started creating household items out of hockey equipment, he cited his previous job experience with a hockey team, “While interning with a NHL team and running their memorabilia game auctions, I noticed that players were always breaking sticks and they were being thrown away.”

Jonathan saw this ‘trash’ as the beginning of a creative and innovative project. You know what they say, one man’s broken hockey stick is another man’s treasure.

According to Jonathan, “After doing some research online, I realized that some pretty cool stuff can be created from recycled sports equipment. I didn’t come up with idea for many of the things I have made, but when most people see Creative Collectibles for the first time they act like I invented the wheel.”

His company, “Creative Collectibles” has a new facebook page, twitter page, and he is available for orders if you email him at jm885@georgetown.edu.

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NHL Off-Season Main Goal: Knock out the Lockout

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While speculation is at an all-time high about the NHL’s CBA negotiations, one thing is for sure; if an agreement is not made by September 15th, the NHL players will be locked out. If this happens, it will be the 3rd time Bettman has allowed the NHL to go into lockout. The only thing that seems to be agreed upon by Don Fehr (NHLPA) and Gary Bettman (NHL) is that there is a ‘ wide gap ‘ or ‘ meaningful gulf ‘ between the sides.

So what does this mean for NHL fans? Well, if an agreement isn’t made, it means no hockey for a while. This also means decreased revenue and excitement around hockey, which has been growing exponentially the last 5 years. If the NHL has a lockout it will be horrible for the expansion of the game both in North America and abroad (global preseason games have already been cancelled)…

Don Fehr has suggested that the game should continue until an agreement is made. “Under the law, if an agreement expires, that may give someone the legal ability to go on strike or in this case to impose a lockout,” he said. “There’s no requirement that they do so and if nobody does anything you (can) continue to work under the old conditions.” But Bettman and the NHL owners do not have any intentions of operating under the current CBA, even if it means no 2013 season. According to Bettman, “We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement”. If the CBA is not finalized by September 15th, there is a good chance a lockout is imminent.

But what is everyone even arguing about anyway? Well, the league wants to make sure the owners are protected. They are trying to lower salaries for players and essentially put that money back into the owners’ pockets. According to Don Fehr on NHL’s proposal, “Seems to us that all of the revenue-sharing payments would be paid for by player salary reductions.” Revenue sharing is definitely the biggest issue at hand. The NHL’s current proposal includes an 11% cut of hockey-related revenues going to players (changing from 57% to 46%). Do the players or the owners really need this money? No, probably not. But they definitely want it and they will fight ’til the death (or until September 15th) to come to a compromise.

Personally, it seems that both sides are hard-lining. I mean, yesterday’s meeting lasted less than 2 hours. But hey, isn’t that what negotiations are about? Ask for more than what you want, and don’t let up until the very last second. And we aren’t at the very last second, not yet. I am pretty optimistic that the NHL and NHLPA will work out an agreement, because if they don’t they are hurting virtually all of their stakeholders (players, owners, league, agents, and the fans). Don Fehr and the NHLPA are expected to give their first counterproposal to the NHL on Tuesday 8/14. And hopefully in the meantime, fans don’t attack Gary Bettman and demand hockey. For now those fans will have to wait patiently… or make aggressive memes.