NHL Lockout Begins, Attention Shifts to the AHL

NHL Lockout Begins, Attention Shifts to the AHL

Unless you’ve been completely oblivious to the sporting world the last few months you’re probably well aware that the NHL locked its doors at midnight on Saturday. Hockey is on hold. As for how long, that remains to be decided but it appears the delay could be a lengthy one. St. Louis Blues hockey is officially on ice, to use an extremely overused pun. What’s a hockey fan to do? The answer lies in Peoria.

Support the Peoria Rivermen.

The unfortunate truth is that this lockout, the second in nine years, could once again claim an entire season. Neither the players nor the owners want it a lengthy lockout (so they say) but you don’t see either side clamoring to get a deal done, do you? The harsh reality is that the NHL might be gone for the foreseeable future with no light at the end of the tunnel.

Hockey fans around St. Louis no longer have a rooting interest aside from rooting for hockey to return. However, there is hockey and it isn’t too far away. The Peoria Rivermen call the city of Peoria home (shocking, right?). Their rink, the Peoria Civic Center, is located roughly three hours from the Scottrade Center.

Here’s why you should adopt the Rivermen as your new favorite team while the Blues are out of commission.

- You should already be supporting them. As the AHL affiliate of the Blues, as the Rivermen strengthen, the Blues strengthen as well. You should always support your team’s farm system.

- You know the players. You’ve seen numerous Rivermen in a St. Louis sweater already. Now you can check out the future of the team and potentially see some veterans in a Rivermen sweater. Get an early look at what’s in store for the Blues in the future.

- It’s affordable. A road trip to Peoria might set you back some gas money but tickets are inexpensive. Glass seats will set you back $28. Not bad, right?

- With the NHL off the table, the AHL is now the leading hockey league in the country. Let’s hope they embrace the title while they can.

Here’s to hoping the league and players end this matter before it has a chance to derail the entire season. Until the two sides finally decide to have some sense, we’ll be cheering on the Rivermen.