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THE 2012-13 NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (NHL) SEASON HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN.

By Paul Brunner
Staff Writer

Teams dropped the puck on Jan. 19, just 13 days after a new collective bargaining agreement was reached between the players’ association and the league itself. Though the season was originally scheduled to begin on Oct. 11, 2012, the lockout was declared by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, which put the game on hold for more than three months of debate.

There are many reasons that contributed to the lockout, though the crux of the labor strife was a disagreement on revenue sharing among teams, owners, and the league. This is the third lockout under Bettman’s 19-year tenure as commissioner. As a result of the lockout, the 2012-13 season has been reduced from 82 to 48 games, which is almost a 42 percent reduction.

A major concern for teams after the lockout was whether fans would return and support the league after it had deprived them of hockey for so long. Around North Central, students’ reactions were varied. For some, the lockout was ironically seen as a positive thing.

“The shortened schedule makes the season more exciting because now there are games every night, and players will not take nights off since they know every game matters that much more,” said junior elementary education major and hockey enthusiast Michael Linder.

But for some, including senior psychology major and lifelong hockey fan Ryan Nelson, the lockout has left a bad taste that cannot be easily removed.

“I was really bummed about all of the games that were cancelled. It was unfair to the fans and truly showed the selfishness of all those involved,” said Nelson.

There may be no fans more excited than those of the Minnesota Wild. The excitement started in the off-season as the team made a memorable splash, upon the signing of the two most sought-after free agents on the market: for- ward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

In an effort to attract college students into attendance, the Wild are hosting ‘College Nights’ where students can present their school I.D and purchase a lower level ticket for $35.