Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson wrote a very powerful piece on his website that tells the NHL owners what every player is thinking during the current NHL Lockout that has wiped out more games through the month of November. In fact, the massage delivered by Johnson is simple.
He wants to play.
The following is from Johnson’s website, and is titled “Where Is The Honor?”
October 28th, 2012… “I want to work! I’m a professional athlete and I want to play hockey! In my chosen profession, I don’t have until I am 60 or 70 years old to do this job. My window of opportunity to play professional hockey is limited. If I’m lucky, I can play until I’m 40. I have been training as a hockey player my entire life, and I know it is a privilege to play in the NHL. So each month, each week, and each game that is cancelled is an opportunity I will never get back. This is the case for every NHL player. I value every day in this job and take my commitment to my team very seriously. I give it my all every shift. I come to play every night and I leave it all on the ice. This is my responsibility as an individual, an athlete, and a professional. I have a duty to my team, the organization that has given me this opportunity, and the fans in the stands to give them my best at all times. The concept that the owners are trying to dismantle existing contracts that they in good faith offered, signed, and committed to is appalling, unprofessional, and disgraceful. I negotiated my own contract, without an agent, with the confidence and belief that the owner offering me that contract operated by the same convictions and principals as I do. During the summer, the players offered to play through negotiations and the owners locked us out. We want to play hockey! Where is the honor? I’m ready to play and uphold my end of the deal!”
Johnson pits it very well. He wrote the words that many players feel, but either are afraid to say or just choose to remain silent. Johnson wants to play. Most of the players want to play, and they want to do so in The United States of America. They want to play in the greatest hockey league in the world, the NHL.
While many agree with Johnson’s sentiments, especially in regards to the NHL owners, I give him credit for calling them out in this letter.
I just wish that they would listen.