You’re sitting in your seat snacking on popcorn and cotton candy, fingers and lips stained blue. A bottle of soda is in the cup holder of your armrest as the crowd behind you cheers when another goal has been scored. Sounds of clapping, chanting, slashing ice of skates coming to a stop, pucks hitting sticks, and fists being thrown during fights on the ice all reach your ears in a tumultuous rumble.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.
Since September 15, the National Hockey League had declared a lockout when their old Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) -- or the contract between the NHL and National Hockey League Player’s Association -- expired. The lockout lasted 113 days with 510 regular season games cancelled. That makes up 41.4% of the season. This shortened 2012-13 season will be 48 games.
The season returned on January 19, starting with a heated game between the Keystone state rivals: the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I am very ecstatic. I am an avid hockey fan and I’m excited to watch my Penguins play,” english teacher Ashley Bollinger said. “They are awesome, and I’m feeling like they’re gonna go to the Stanley Cup again.”
The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup, Lord Stanley known to hockey players and fans, last year. It was their first franchise win. The Penguins won the Cup in the 2008-09 season.
“The worst part is, it’s both ways. One, I kept swearing that because they make a lot of money to do a job that a lot of people don’t ever get the chance to do. If they should have been playing, I wanted to say ‘I’m not watching,’ however, now that they are back … I did watch,” Physics teacher, and New Jersey Devil’s fan, Eric Wilson said.
The race to the playoffs will be a heated one with the shortened season. Fans will be sitting on the edge of their seats while the players race to the top in the limited time they have. But one thing everyone is saying: thank goodness hockey’s back.
“It just needed to be done and worked out so I could see my hockey team!” junior Flyers fan Alexandria Taylor said.
Junior Alexandria Taylor poses with her Flyers jersey in excitement of the new NHL season. Photo by Ben Otte