NHL Center Ice and the threat of a 2012 lockout

RALEIGH NC - JANUARY 28: A general view inside the NHL Fan Fair part of 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend at the Raleigh Convention Center on January 28 2011 in Raleigh North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

With the threat of a lockout looming ever larger on the horizon for hockey fans, there has been some consideration as to what measures us everyday folks can do to make our voice heard in this squabble between millionaires and billionaires over how to divide their ever-growing pile of lucre.

Should we stop buying tickets? It's now too late for just about anyone who has already renewed their season ticket plans.

Well then, what about TV coverage? One idea that came to mind today was NHL Center Ice, the package which allows you to see a zillion out-of-market games over the course of the season. When I got married back in 1998 and left the state of Michigan, my sole condition for moving to Indiana was that we get satellite TV and the hockey package, so I could satisfy my NHL fix. I've had it ever since, and love it - just not enough to pay for it while no games are going on!

I thought to myself, "I should cancel my package before the automated payments start kicking in, and wait until this whole mess blows over". So I logged into my DirecTV account, and found the following message (emphasis mine)...

This is your first renewal notification for 2012-13 NHL® CENTER ICE®. Because of the potential NHL labor dispute, you will not be charged until there is a confirmed season start date*. This assures that you will not pay for any missed games. Once a settlement is reached, you will begin to see a charge** for NHL® CENTER ICE® and will be set to enjoy another exciting season. If you wish to cancel, you must do so before the season starts; refunds not available after the season starts. *Season currently scheduled to start on 10/10/12 but is subject to change pending the outcome of a new NHL agreement **2012-13 renewal price is 4 payments of $42.95/month. Should there be a delay in the season and games are missed, the price will be adjusted accordingly. This amount will appear on your bill once an agreement has been made.

I have to say, I'm fairly impressed by this stance (I believe they may have handled this in a similar fashion back in 2004, but still, kudos). It certainly stands in stark comparison to the NHL teams themselves, which are out there furiously selling tickets these days. I just renewed my 12-game pack recently, but made sure only to go for one game in October, given the likelihood that those games might get cancelled.

Now, I found this notice on my DirecTV bill, but what about any of you who subscribe to NHL Center Ice on other outlets? It might be worth checking with your provider...

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