For Penguins fans, end of NHL's lockout provides relief and a touch of resentment
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The apology, addressed to the Penguins fans and community, was posted this morning.
"We offer our apology," began a statement attributed to Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle and CEO David Morehouse and posted on the team's official website. "There is nothing we can say to explain or excuse what has happened over the past four months."
The team, the three men wrote, would do all they can to regain fans' trust and to show they value their support. The Penguins are returning to Consol Energy Center and renewing their commitment to winning the Stanley Cup, the statement said.
"We want to thank you for your patience and your loyalty to the Penguins," it said. "We hope to repay it many times over."
On Sunday, the National Hockey League and its players union reached an agreement to end the hockey lockout that kept the Penguins off the ice for nearly four months. The statement from the Penguins' management was, for many fans, apology enough.
"Apology accepted! Let's go Pens!!!!!!" wrote one person on the Penguins' website.
For some fans though, it wasn't. Today, on the Penguins website, on blogs and across social media, many expressed excitement for the start of a season but frustration at the reason for the delay.
An apology from Penguins' management was a good first step, wrote John Maletta on the Penguins' website.
Mr. Maletta, 48, of Frankin Park, has been a Penguins' season ticket holder for 26 years, and he's thrilled that hockey is back. But, he said, he felt insulted by the lockout.
He's not giving up his pair of tickets, but he will take a stand by not buying food, beverages or merchandise from the Penguins, he said in a phone interview.
"Maybe this is my way of saying, you took half the season away from me, I'll take half a season of revenue away from you," he said.
John Vilsack, 35, a Pittsburgh native living in St. Paul, Minn., feels the same way. He supports the Penguins, but he's unhappy with the NHL.
"I'm not interested in the NHL at large receiving my money for this year, as a form of protest, because I feel like the fans were last on their mind," he said in a phone interview.
He and his wife usually fly to Pittsburgh to attend the season home opener. This year, instead, he'll donate the money he would have spent on the Penguins to the Mario Lemieux Foundation.
The NHL, he said, will get something, too: a picture of the canceled check.
First Published January 7, 2013 3:42 pm