By JOE CLAYTON
Hockey is back, and students at the University of Mary Washington are excited. For the past few months, the NHL players association and the NHL owners were embroiled in a series of not-so-productive negotiations.
Finally, they settled on a new collective bargaining agreement and ended the work stoppage. NHL games returned to television this past weekend.
Conan Smeeth, president of Club Street Hockey at UMW, said that the NHL lockout had an impact on his life. Smeeth said he “watched college hockey to fill in the gaps” left by the absence of NHL games.
“I try to make time to watch two or three games a week,” said Smeeth, “but school and other commitments get in the way.”
Watching sports can be an escape from the stresses of everyday life. As students look to hockey for a break from their studies, they will find an intense and exciting season. “I think, because this is a short season, that each game will have more importance. Every game is going to matter more,” said Smeeth.
The importance of each game this season is more than that of normal NHL regular season games because of the length of the schedule.
The normal length of an NHL season is 82 games. This season is different, because it will only have 48. “Having fewer games means the players will be fresh when it comes time for the playoffs,” Smeeth said when asked about what part of the season he was most excited.
According to Vaughan Butts, a sophomore, Buffalo Wild Wings is a nice place to hang out and watch games with a large group of friends.
“Once or twice a week I try to get over and watch a game while enjoying some wings,” said Butts. “They have a bunch of screens and play a few different games at the same time, and you can eat while you watch!”
The most exciting part about the NHL returning, according to Butts, is rooting against one specific player. “I dislike Sidney Crosby, and yelling at him during hockey games is one of the most enjoyable parts,” said Butts.
The end of the NHL work stoppage has brought back a familiar part of life for students at UMW. Whether the students use hockey games as a release for pent up anger or as a break from schoolwork, they are excited to have the NHL back in action.