Reporting Bob Allen
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins are starting to make some noise as the NHL lockout continues.
Instead of filling the seats inside the CONSOL Energy Center, dozens of fans gathered outside the home of the Penguins on Saturday to call for a settlement so hockey season can begin. The small but vocal group gathered in a parking lot near the arena.
“We want hockey. We want to be heard,” said Kelly Petrosky, a Penguins’ fan. “Nobody ever asks the fans what we think about the lockout.”
“We felt the fans needed a voice with this lockout, and we just want them to play hockey,” added Bill Kasavage, another Penguins’ fan.
The lockout started after the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players union expired earlier this month.
The preseason has already been canceled, and if no new agreement is reached soon, the first game of the regular season on Oct. 11 could also be in jeopardy.
One of the key issues is a management proposal to reduce the players share of hockey-related revenues from 57 to 47 percent.
“The players did get a lot in the last contract, so maybe it is time to give a little bit back, but 47 is a big number to drop it down to,” Kasavage said. “Maybe they can meet somewhere in between.”
But others believe the players deserve every penny.
“The prime example you have is Sidney Crosby, he’s gone through a challenging part of his career with the concussions,” said Mike Massaro, a Penguins’ fan. “Even like with Evgeni Malkin, with some of the knee issues he’s had, but he has rehabilitated and he’s actually one of the key star players now.”
Eight years ago, a lockout forced the NHL to cancel the 2004-2005 season. Fans are hoping that won’t happen again.
“If we didn’t have that I would just be bored and sitting around doing nothing,” Penguins’ fan Zachary Ziatyk said.
“I love to watch hockey all the time, so it would be bad for me, and probably my parents and brothers and sisters; they all love to watch hockey, so it would be bad for all of us,” added fan Samantha Ziatyk.
Meanwhile, fans hope talks this weekend are a good sign.
“I heard it went very receptive, so at least to me, that just sounds like there is progress being made,” Massaro said, “and hopefully we get progress being finalized and we drop the puck soon.”