I may as well admit I am indifferent when it comes to hockey, or major league sports in general.
On the other hand, it's impossible to ignore this sport's hold on the Canadian psych. Or miss signs of "Sens Fever" in Ottawa.
So, mine is mere cultural interest.
Still, I was taken aback by a recent poll that said a majority of Canadians surveyed don't care if the current player/owner hockey dispute reaches an agreement this season.
Yup, a full 58% basically said "meh" too.
"My conclusion is that the fan base is a narrower segment of the (Canadian) population than I had initially thought and that maybe the assumption that Canada is hockey-mad applies to maybe 25 per cent of the population as opposed to 100 per cent of the population."
Owen said the poll result can not be encouraging news for the NHL or its players.
"When 58 per cent of the population say they don't care, there is a high level of indifference and the people responsible for the game have to be aware that potentially could grow if they don't get this thing solved."
Prime Minister Harper and President Obama have separately scolded both sides for their lack of progress, to no avail. While the U.S. has more professional teams than Canada, general indifference south of the border has to be even higher than in Canada.
Some complain the player/owner stand-off is just a power game between millionaires and billionaires. Even die-hard fans are turned off by what looks like a contest in selfishness.
It's worth noting there have been more developments this week. As reported by CBC, the players have voted to dissolve their union, which (apparently) would permit anti-trust action against the NHL. That would:
"…follow the lead set by NFL and NBA players, who both dissolved their unions during lockouts last year. The NBA's labour dispute ended less than two weeks after the union was disbanded.
The Canadian Press reported on Saturday that Canada's Mr. Hockey, Don Cherry, is now feeling optimistic for a mid-January half-season, which he thinks could still be a good one.
"They will go to the brink and then settle," said the 78-year-old. "Nobody in their right mind would kill the goose that lays these golden eggs."
On a side note though, the hockey impasse is just one of several seemingly intractable fights in which observers wonder who is in their right mind? Such as America's looming "fiscal cliff". Or persistent disagreement between proponents of gun control verses 2nd Amendment supporters.
Why does it seem like the ability of opposing sides to craft agreement – or consider compromise – has become so rare?
In politics, that difficulty is sometime attributed to gerrymandered districts, and I think that's a significant factor. But what accounts for such a counter-productive impasse in something like the NHL dispute?
Is this a lack of negotiating skill? Some failure of maturity as each side plays 'all or nothing'?
Or are some issues so diametrically opposed that there is just no chance of meeting somewhere in the middle?