Thanks for posting your letter Mike. As a Sens fan and a fan of hockey in general, I have to disagree with you. Not only is this deal bad for hockey fans in Canada because its a monopoly and will undoubtedly lead to higher prices to watch games on TV and online, but its also a huge threat to Canadian culture because it will mean the end to a Canadian institution in Hockey Night in Canada and our national tradition of watching NHL hockey on Saturday nights.
The Senators are paying dearly at the box office this year by going with a schedule heavy with Friday night and Sunday afternoon games rather than Saturday night games. Why? Because most Canadians (and Ottawans) who watch hockey don't watch on Friday night or Sunday afternoon. Its not their tradition to do so. Saturday night is hockey night in Canada as much today as it was 50 years ago.
Multiple media platforms is good but not under the control of one media firm. Canada is not the US. Our population is still small enough for monopolies to be easily created, especially in media, which is why we have national rules preventing monopolies in our country. Competition is also good for consumers. This deal throws those values out the window.
I could care less about Leaf and Hab fans and I really don't think their interests should take precedence over Sens fans in Ottawa. I've hated both teams since I was born (I used to cheer for any team playing against them before the Sens rebirth). Do you think the NHL would be better off without Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton in the league? Because that's what will happen if their markets are eroded. Why do you think we had media blackout regions in first place?
This deal is about nothing more than greed. Plain and simple. But, because I believe its ramifications will have tremendously harmful long term effects on Canada, Canadians, as well as our hockey heritage and traditions, I am exploring all options to stop it.
No joke. Having worked at TSN and Molstar on Leaf broadcasts at an earlier point in my life, I know the sports broadcasting industry. I know what this means to many people working in it, people I worked with like Elliot Friedman (who came up through The Score by the way), and whom I consider friends. As someone who is pro-Canada, who has played hockey abroad and who is political aware, I am very concerned about what this deal will mean to Canadians' and our family hockey traditions.
The NHL could have achieved the same objective for the same amount of money if they had bundled it together with all Canadian media companies instead of choosing the easy way out. A course of action that threatens the very future of our national sport in Canada.
You can read my full take tomorrow when I post my letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen to UnpublishedOttawa.com.