BY TERRY DAVIDSON ,TORONTO SUN
TORONTO – Hockey fans across Canada are fed up with the NHL lockout and are bitter enough to walk away from the game they love, according to a recent poll.
A whopping 76% of Canadians identifying themselves as fans of NHL hockey feel this season will be “lost entirely,” and almost half said “they would be less likely to attend a game as a result of the lockout,” according to an Abacus Data survey conducted this past weekend.
Overall, six out of 10 Canadians surveyed feel the NHL season is lost, and only 38% said they were following the lockout “closely or somewhat closely.”
The poll, which questioned 1,505 Canadians — 28% of whom identified themselves as fans of NHL hockey — comes on the heels of labour talks breaking down last Thursday between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
NHL owners and the players have been in a bitter dispute over player contract caps and the length of the collective bargaining agreement. It was Monday that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the cancellation of regular-season games through to Dec. 30, representing a loss of 43% of a regular season that was supposed to start Oct. 11.
It what could arguably be seen as an even more visceral example of fans’ exasperation is the 45% who would support the trustees of the Stanley Cup taking the iconic trophy away from the NHL should the lockout result in the loss of the entire 2012-13 season.