Kristen, Anaheim Calling:
I have never been one for gender essentialism. I don't think that all men - or all the men involved in the CBA negotiations - are all narcissists. Nor do I think that female voices are needed in the CBA negotiations because women are kinder, more compassionate, or more conciliatory than men.
But a lot of the men involved in these negotiations - and a lot of men in the hockey world - can only see the negotiations from the perspective of a business owner or a player (even most coaches and many agents were once players). The hockey world is a closed circle, a continuous feedback loop. And this is where women come in.
Not hockey wives like Carrie Underwood and Hilary Duff. Or hockey daughters like Alyonka Larionov. Or even female hockey legends like Hayley Wickenheiser or Angela James. They're a part of that closed circle. The voices that are needed in this lockout are the ones of rank and file female hockey fans, fans like the women contributing to this group post (and especially the ones from non-traditional markets).
While players and owners argue about pensions, what percentage of hockey-related revenue each party should get, and even the length of the CBA (really?), they are forgetting the rank and file fan. The people who have kept teams afloat by buying merchandise, season tickets, and even tickets for special fan events. And don't forget the many arena employees who depend on hockey games to make a living. Many of them are also women, and they can't just go to Europe to make up the lost income.
Hockey isn't just investment or a game; at its core, it's a spectacle put on for paying fans, and supported by people who are making minimum wage. And without these people, players and owners would have no revenue to argue over.
Women, especially, are used to giving to people who don't reciprocate. We're used to deferring dreams in order to address the needs of family and friends. We tend to earn less money on the dollar than men, and yet, we've kept hockey alive in places like Phoenix and Columbus (not to mention here, in Anaheim). This is why our voices are needed - to remind players and owners why they're negotiating, and what has been lost by the three month (and counting) stalemate that is the NHL lockout.
I don't doubt that many players and owners just want to drop the puck. But they aren't working hard enough for it. They've become too bogged down in the minutiae, and have forgotten the big picture: an NHL season. Maybe a few women can remind them about it.