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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the league

Not a player was stirring, not even Versteeg. Ice skates weren't hung in the locker room stalls, And the sounds of stick tape didn't echo off walls.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Zambonis were parked in arenas, all dry.
The fear of no season left all with a sigh.
And Bettman in his castle, and Fehr in the bar
Forgot all the people who brought them so far.

While they sat in their boardrooms with ridiculous chatter
And spouted out soundbites that just didn't matter,
Rink workers wondered how they might pay the bills
And pub owners worried over half empty tills.

The ice was all covered with big wooden slates:
Neglected, forgotten, a victim of fates.
Without all the crowds and the hot dogs and beer,
There was no reason to be there, no reason to cheer.

No slap shots, no face offs, no big goalie saves.
No passes, no hip checks, no highlight reel plays.
No veterans facing off against an old foe.
No rookies just hoping to make the big show.

No Malkin, no Seabrook, no Matty Duchene.
No Fleury, no Selanne, was that his last game?
Fans sit there and wonder, "When will this all end?"
Yet apathy has quickly become the new trend.

Jerseys packed away in the dark and untouched,
People have shunned team colors they once clutched.
In their own little protest, no hats will they wear.
Though owners with power don't actually care.

They say in all confidence, "It's not our concern.
Our fans are so loyal! We know they'll return."
But memories are longer than they realize.
Another lost season has opened fans' eyes.

"We're not the suckers you once knew we were.
We're not going to forget, of that you be sure."
Although it be small, the fans have a voice,
Yet they'd rather use it to laugh and rejoice

At knowing the game that captured their souls
Is alive and well and brimming with goals.
Despite the resolve that many do claim,
Their hearts will come back; no one's to blame.

It's a magical place, that ice hockey rink.
So much more than others might think.
The sounds of the skates, the smell of the ice.
Sticks, boards and horns, do naught but entice.

Though nary a ticket nor shirt might be bought,
The game will still capture more than a thought.
Which makes fans declare—with pleas in their hearts—
"Do something soon so the lost season starts."

It's time to get back to the game we all love.
It's time to see banners of old up above.
It's time to let go of this ill-fated fight.
It's time again to say, "There's hockey tonight."