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Craig’s Corner: Manitoba’s Lifted Lockout

Photo by John Woods

Craig’s Corner: Manitoba’s Lifted Lockout

It’s official. The NHL and NHLPA have come to an agreement. The lockout is over. Let’s get back to hockey.

As Manitobans, that’s kind of how it feels right now, doesn’t it?

Premier Brian Pallister’s announcement on April 29 came as a welcome surprise to many of us. Things are starting to get back to normal! What has felt like an eternity will eventually come to an end, and we have a plan in place on how to move forward.

But we are not out of the woods just yet. Just like the return of hockey, we have to go through multiple phases before we are back to normal. Hockey would begin with a short training camp, then move into some pre-season games before returning to normal.

For Manitobans, we enter our training camp on May 4. We are beginning the journey back to ‘normal’, but there is still work to be done. We have to work our way back to ‘normal’ before jumping right back in.

But will this ‘normal’ be the same ‘normal’ we are used to? Or will this be like the NHL resuming after the 04-05 lockout where we realized a new ‘normal’? Hockey was a different game when it returned.

I believe we will be living in a new ‘normal’ moving forward.

This does not have to be a bad thing. Look at the NHL as we know it today. It’s fast, full of skill, and there’s no room for the clutching and grabbing of the 1990s.

Change can be a good thing. We will see that as our lives move on from this day forward. Let’s continue to work together to see this thing through.

Just like the NHL implemented its own version of social distancing, let’s be mindful of each other and embrace what our future holds.

The COVID-19 closure is over and the lockout has been lifted! Let’s celebrate the great work we have done, but continue to work in order to secure the same success for the future. And on Monday as we resume this journey, I would be remiss if I did not utter the words of my late high school teacher, Tim Wiebe. “May the 4th be with you.”

Craig Neufeld is a passionate hockey writer and fan and has dedicated much of his life to playing and working within the sports world. From rural Manitoba, when Craig is not working, he enjoys playing hockey and curling in winter, as well as being on the golf course or baseball diamond in summer.

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