It’s what every hockey fan dreaded. The NHL lockout appears to be lasting forever and will be as slow to resolve as the curling matches that replaced hockey on CBC. It was a money issue, a greed issue, some say. It was about salary caps by greedy owners. It was about wanting no limits by greedy players. It all depended on which spin doctors you were listening to. For this issue of the Nation we decided that we wanted to know what people in Eeyou Istchee thought about it all so we asked: “What do you think of the NHL lock out?’’
Jeffery Hester from Mistissini: It’s going to be very boring without the NHL games. My son will turn six years old now and he used to watch the NHL with me. He plays hockey too. Now it’s very boring without the NHL games.
Chisasibi’s Gordon Neacappo: It’s definitely something very new. This has never happened before since I’ve been watching NHL. I think the other hockey fanatics are very disappointed because these people really enjoy watching hockey. I’m disappointed too because I don’t get to watch Jonathan Cheechoo play. Also our two Native players who made it to the NHL like Jordin Tootoo and especially when one is from the James Bay region. I’m very sure a lot of people not only from the James Bay region are very proud with what Jonathan accomplished or made it this far to the NHL. I know a lot of people who were really looking forward to see Jonathan Cheecho play or Jordon Tootoo. So I’m a little disappointed on behalf of our two Native players. But hopefully well get to see NHL back on ice soon.
Ottawa’s Steven Pashagumskum (originally from Chisasibi): I wasn’t really following the NHL lock out. It doesn’t really affect us over here. We have the Junior “A” games that play here in Ottawa. We want them to get a deal done where everyone is happy. If they play again we’ll go watch them but as far as the lock out it doesn’t affect us at all. We always look for wherever the Cree kids are playing and we go watch them. It’s always fun. I can understand in Cree communities they don’t have access to the Junior A games and the American Hockey League. Us, we can watch the AHL when they come to play here in Ottawa. But as far as we’re concerned down here it doesn’t really affect us. If they come back and play we’ll go watch them. If not we have other games to watch.
Roy Neacappo of Chisasibi: I’m really fed up now. I don’t care much about it anymore. I was really looking forward to it in the beginning. I do watch hockey a lot. I wasn’t too happy when I found out that there was a possibility of a lock out. They don’t care about us, their fans. They only care about the agreement or the money, that’s all. I’m really fed up with it. I don’t care if they don’t ever return to play anymore, I’ll probably watch it if the NHL comes back on ice but I’m not that enthusiastic with professional hockey anymore.
Wasawanipi’s Jack Ottereyes: I used to watch a lot of the NHL games and now we just stay home a lot these days. With the other sports, I’m not too interested to watch them. During the Christmas holidays it was okay with junior hockey and the World Cup but I must say without the NHL games it’s very boring.
Mary McKee from Chisasibi: I used to like to watch the NHL games in the late 60s and the 70s. That’s when all the great hockey players were playing like Reggie Leach. There were several of the good players at that time. I can’t remember all their names but there were very good players in those days.
Waskaganish’s Pauline Erless: I remember before we ever had TVs, everybody would listen to the NHL games on the short wave radio. There were very good players like Pete Mahovlich and later guys like Guy Lafleur. Those were good days to either listen to hockey or watch when TVs started coming in but I don’t know much of the lock out that’s happening.