When this lockout finally ends, all eyes will turn to the fans to see how they react to the second lengthy lockout in eight seasons. Will they flock back or will a noticeable segment of them stay away from the NHL?
Ultimately, the answer to that question might be different depending on the city. The Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones thinks the Oilers are likely to enjoy plenty of fan enthusiasm when this work stoppage ends.
Among NHL teams, the Oilers are a bit of a unique case. Their fans have endured an arguably unprecedented recent run of on-ice failures, but that has also allowed them to dramatically improve their team via the draft. On top of that, the off-season acquisition of free agent defensive prospect Justin Schultz might prove to be a huge win for them.
During the lockout, Oilers fans have seen Schultz and several other members of their core excel together in the AHL instead of being scattered throughout Europe. Although the Edmonton Oilers still have some major areas of concern and a lot to prove, the end of this lockout could mark the beginning of a new era for the team.
The Edmonton Oilers fans have been patiently waiting for their team to flourish since long before this CBA expired. When this lockout ends, they might finally start to reap the rewards.