Obama, Harper Should Intervene in NHL Lockout

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I support New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to ban super-sized sugary drinks.

Bloomberg's move actually has something to do with the NHL lockout, at least on a theoretical level.

Sometimes government needs to save people from themselves. Often we're too stupid, too lazy, too driven by emotion or lack the willpower to make the "right" (that's a loaded word!) or "best" choice for ourselves and those around us.

I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Phoenix. It's hardly a hockey town, but several people called me out for the Toronto Maple Leafs cap I wore.

The valet guy shouted "Darryl Sittler" (a classic old-time Leaf) when he saw my hat. Turns out the guy is an Edmonton Oilers fan. We lamented the lockout every time we saw one another over the weekend.

I had several hockey conversations with people in Phoenix. Phoenix of all places. I'm not going to say the city is emotionally devastated, but the lockout is affecting people. Often in very real ways.

The local news did a story on a sports bar that misses out on between $18,000 and $25,000 in revenue each night a scheduled Phoenix Coyotes game doesn't take place. The City of Glendale loses roughly $60,000 in tax revenue per game. It can't quite quantify the overall impact on its economy.

Remember. This is Arizona. "Nobody cares about hockey in Phoenix." Relative to most other NHL cities, I guess that's true, but it doesn't mean people aren't getting hurt in Phoenix just as they are in Toronto, Winnipeg, Buffalo and Boston.

We could go city by city numerating the losses. I could get all emotional on you and rip NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and a handful of big market owners for single-handedly destroying a sport, screwing with Canada's pride and passion and depriving cities and businesses from across North America of much-needed revenue.

But that sort of talk just feeds the fire.

This NHL labor dispute had to happen. Yes, it should have been dealt with pre-emptively. Anybody who even casually observes hockey saw the lockout coming. But, it wasn't headed off. So here we are. I don't care who's right or wrong. I don't even care about how or when they solve this thing.

Fans, sports bar owners, mascots, cotton candy vendors, play-by-play announcers, the dudes who charge market rate for parking spots outside the arena -- none of us should have to deal with any of this.

We all contribute to something bigger than the sum of the game's parts. Players and owners drive this thing. But, without us, they got nothin' . If they bring the game back tomorrow and nobody watches -- live or on television -- that sports bar owner still looses his money and the concession workers will end up jobless.

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