VICTORIA (CUP)—A full-season National Hockey League (NHL) lockout seems imminent; there is the possibility of a postponed or shorter season, but the light is quickly fading.

The lockout will not only affect the NHL players and employees, but it will also have a ripple effect on local businesses (sports bars, etc.), sports gambling and, of course, crazed hockey fans.

For many UVic students, and pretty much anyone over 18, this will be the second lockout of their living memories.

There is something magical about watching a hockey game with your friends, compared to any other sporting event. Hockey is Canada’s game, and for many students, sitting down and immersing themselves in the game connects them to every other student and Canadian doing the exact same thing at the exact same moment.

Hockey brings people together, builds friendships, and creates memories (example: Sidney Crosby’s golden goal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics). Without an NHL season, many of those amazing times will be lost for an unassuming gang of post-secondary students.

Some of the fondest memories I have of my university career are watching hockey games with a load of friends all crowded into a small room: the yelling, the beers, the nervousness, and the moments of sheer ecstasy when your team scores the winning goal.

Hockey has made its mark on Canadian culture, and by losing that portion of our culture, students will be missing out on one of the greatest bonding experiences in their post-secondary career. Students won’t be able to grab a beer after class with their classmates and watch a game.

They won’t be able to find teammates in their classes or dorms; they won’t be able to cheer on another fan walking across campus; they won’t be able to stay up late having heated discussions about teams and players.

The lasting effects of the NHL lockout will be even more devastating for first-year students. One of the hardest things to do in first year is to find the right social event that will allow you to meet new people and build lasting memories and friendships.

Hockey games provide great venues for first-year students to come together over one common infatuation. Walking through dorms and seeing the games on the televisions or seeing someone’s team flag hanging on their wall are the things that help first-year students latch onto a sense of belonging.

The NHL lockout is about one thing: money. The owners, players, and commissioners only care about who is getting paid and where the money is going. If the lockout does indeed last all season, the NHL is simply declaring that it does not care about its fans.

The lockout shows total disregard for the fans that love the game and support their team, and many students will be losing out on some of the greatest moments of their lives as a result.

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