So I heard on the radio today that there is a new affliction known as “Habs Syndrome”. A GP was on talking about the depression and listlessness afflicting many Hockey fans now that the idea of a winter without Hockey is sinking in. Apparently this is something he and his colleagues have seen quite a bit, and is similar to the depression observed in a player if for some reason he is forced to miss out on playing with his team.
It seems really silly at first. But I was thinking about the impact Hockey has in cities like Montreal, and it makes sense that people are so profoundly affected. Think about it: from November to March you are in a climate nobody would live in (given decent alternatives) without some serious incentive. The days are windy and bitterly cold, and the nights are the same, but darker. There aren’t all the awesome crazy festivals that make the city hop in the summer, and sunlight deprivation makes everyone cranky. A sport like Hockey is great for morale, especially with a history as rich as the one the Canadians have. Among Montrealers, even people who hate Hockey love Hockey.
So what happens when there’s a lockout, and there is no Hockey for an entire season? I predict lots of scrambling to catch European matches, and certainly a huge increase in attendance at minor league games. We’ll see.