Who does the lockout really affect?
The lockout in 2004–2005 was the first time an entire major league sports season was cancelled due to a lockout. Now, with the owners and players so far apart, it’s entirely possible that it could happen for a second time.
It’s a battle of the players versus the owners, but the real losers in this situation go far beyond the owners or players.
On Sept. 18, the Florida Panthers announced the layoffs of an undisclosed number of employees throughout their organization. Prior to that, the Ottawa Senators made a similar announcement. These layoffs show the ripple effect a lockout can have; the peripheral employees whose jobs rely on the NHL season.
Alan Beesley, the in-house announcer for The Calgary Flames at the Saddledome for the past 17 years is one of many employees whose services aren’t needed during a lockout.
A prominent voice in Calgary radio for over 20 years, Beesley made the transition into teaching last September when he accepted a position as an instructor in the SAIT Radio, Television and Broadcast News Program. He remained the voice of the Flames within the ‘Dome as well, until the current lockout.
“It’s really weird that this year I don’t have to rush to the ‘Dome.’ Beesley said, “In a roundabout way, I’ve got more time to focus on the courses and my students instead of the ‘Dome. But, do I miss it? For sure.” Beesley said while he will be hit financially by the lockout, the biggest loss is not being able to do what he loves.
“I never did it for the money to begin with, it was all for the love of the game,” Beesley said. “As employees, we’re on the sidelines.”
Numerous SAIT students put themselves through school by working part-time at the Saddledome. It’s a perfect part-time job for a student.Evenings and weekends, fun people to work with, and the occasional glimpse at a hockey game or concert.
Beesley isn’t the only instructor at SAIT who works part time for the Calgary Flames. An instructor in the television program, BJ Hamilton, also finds himself without the part-time job that has become his passion. The person sitting next to you could be unemployed because there’s just not enough work or money at the Saddledome.
On the flipside, the SAIT Trojan’s men’s and women’s hockey teams look to benefit from an NHL work stoppage.
SAIT athletic director and Men’s Hockey Coach Ken Babey is excited.
“A lockout, from our perspective, is an opportunity.” Babey said. “In 2004 when this happened, we saw an increase in our fans. When the playoffs came around we saw even more. This is a great chance for Trojan’s Athletics in general to get more people out to games. I don’t see it as a negative to us at all.”
Aside from extra fan attention, Babey also believes the media will care more about the Trojans. “We’ll get more attention from the media maybe, and more interest in general. That’s a win-win for us and it’s a positive for all amateur hockey in general. I’m a hockey fan too, so on that side of it, it’s not a good situation. But in the Trojan’s world we’re excited about getting more fans and more coverage from the media.”
The SAIT community is experiencing first-hand the effects of the NHL work stoppage. It goes far beyond the players and owners disagreeing on revenue sharing, and even beyond a fan watching a movie on CBC on a Saturday night instead of Hockey Night In Canada.