by Lorne Caplan

Director of Content

Will The Hockey Lock-out Rekindle Marriages and Relationships?

When thinking about a true sports-fan in a marriage, we usually picture a lazy, overweight couch potato that is indifferent or completely ignoring his spouse. Sure, there are a few women that might actually be included in this category, but for the most part, men dominate this image.

With the ongoing lock-out in the NHL, many of these perennial hockey fans have had to make an adjustment into the real world, especially within their relationships because they don't have the excuse that they are watching the game, or chatting about the results, pre-game analysis or other game related activities that they frequently use as excuses or truthful responses to "are we going out?", "did you fix the - fill in your own stuff that needs to be fixed", "do you know where your kids are" or any number of infuriating unanswered questions that a wife may ask her hockey loving sports-fan may have asked in the past. Now, this very same fan has had to come out of his hockey induced addiction haze and actually function in his relationship. He has no responses. He is lost in his new-found freedom to be independent of his hockey addiction.

Without games to watch, relationships may get more positive attention

While we may think that this is a grand opportunity to improve a relationship that may have been spiraling into oblivion because of this fans commitment to his sport, we have to understand that the withdrawal wasn't by choice. It was imposed upon this poor sports-fan by the NHL's lockout of it's players and has become a major thorn in the side of most hockey fans who have been lamenting the fourth work-stoppage in almost 20 years in what may be the most dysfunctional, ego driven mess of a pro-sports league in the history of sports. This fan and all the others who call themselves hockey fans, are actually in the throws of a very difficult intervention where they have been forcibly withdrawn from their addiction. It is a difficult road to travel and very few of these for the most part, men, will be able to quickly transition into a full participant in their marriage or other committed relationship with their partners. 

One such hockey fan outlined the changes that had to be and are being made as he adjusts to a season without his pro-sports team to breath life into his seemingly mundane and frustrating real life. It may be tongue in cheek, but the depth of the depression and frustration can quickly be identified and the NHL may be responsible for the upcoming surge in divorces or pregnancies as relationships between hard-core hockey fans will be thrown into significant tumult as these poor souls try to figure out how to deal with life in a relationship without the familiar and unique aspects of having a rabid hockey fan as a husband, boyfriend or partner.

Hockey fans are experiencing new and novel realities without hockey

From screen name Johnbellyful of the hockey forum HockeyInsideOut, we've learned many things;

"Things I’ve Learned During the Lockout:

– I have three kids
– the wife’s eyes are hazel
– garbage pickup is every Tuesday morning – NOT WEDNESDAY NIGHT!
– we have raccoons
– Pickles died last spring; Pickles was our pet dog (a dachshund if I remember right, possibly a St. Bernard, although, come to think of it, I haven’t seen the next door neighbour around lately; what was her name again?)
– plaid slacks have gone out of style
– we turn our clocks back a half-hour sometime this month
– Christmas falls on Dec. 25 this year
– a martini is five parts gin, one part vermouth, not the other way around (and no, you can’t use sherry as a substitute)
– the wife is three months pregnant (I didn’t want to say anything when her tummy started getting bigger, she’s a bit sensitive about her weight)
– wait, the wife ISN’T pregnant, and she’s really, REALLY sensitive about her weight
– yep, Pickles was a dog, and we kept her bed in the basement, near the furnace (which makes a lot of noise when it comes on, and wakes you up)"

Change is indeed difficult to make and continue, especially when their is such a high level of passion, especially with hockey. It  can be considered a cultural and spiritual aspect of the Canadian psyche as well as a significant part of the Northern United States who share their affection for hockey with their Canadian neighbors.  Combined with the shock of becoming part of a relationship, many men may not be able to handle their new roles as active participants in a marriage or relationship and I also feel for the women in these relationships. Imagine trying to fit an essentially new and different person into your life when you've already come to terms with (accepted or not) the lout that's been causing the couch to be reshaped with that bulge in the middle and the crumbs of food in a scattered battle pattern around the front of it.

Don't expect the honey-do jar to miraculously get emptied

Expectations that all the forgotten or ignored projects in the house will get miraculously done, will become stark disappointments. Romance, something that may have been a distant, almost fantastical concept, will continue to be out-of-reach as the hockey fan struggles to walk amongst the living again and the quarrels will seem to take on a new and unique life of their own. Wishing for hockey and the NHL to start so that these new realities can be tucked back into that Pandora's box opened by the lock-out, is a simple cop-out. Seizing the opportunity to rebuild a marriage or relationship is the true mark of a champion and reading the simple steps that Johnbellyful has made as his head clears from the fog of hockey fan-dom is a great example of the exceptional positive steps that can be made as the billionaires fight the millionaires in this latest and most oxymoronic lock-out that is likely to shake-up not only the professional sport of hockey, but so many relationships of hard-core hockey fans desperate for help coming out of their addiction.

Relationship and support group