Year In Review 2012: Canada's Top 5 News Losers Of The Year

The Huffington Post Canada  |  Posted:   |  Updated: 12/21/2012 8:07 am EST

2012 might not be the end of the world but it hasn't been kind to these five Canadian newsmakers. We take a look at the biggest losers of the year:

1. The NHL

nhl lockout food banks
Photo: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been one of the reasons why the NHL remains locked out. (AP photo)

It wasn’t long ago that NHL players and NHL owners left fans out in the cold. In 2004, stubborn-headed owners and players forced the cancellation of the NHL season. The Stanley Cup, one of the oldest trophies in professional sports, was not awarded. The previous time that happened was in 1919, when a global flu pandemic swept the globe and North America was still recovering from the First World War.

Just a few short years later, here we are again. The stadiums are empty, the bars quiet, fans’ jerseys and face paint still squirreled away. It’s clear that the collective bargaining agreement put into force in 2005 was not enough to keep costs down. Or is it because the NHL insists on trying to expand into markets where teams just cannot survive or, worse, cost the league money.

Owning a hockey team in Canada is a licence to print money. It’s why the Maple Leafs, valued at a billion dollars, are the most valuable team in the league. It’s why money-making Canadian teams foot the bill for teams in the U.S. sun belt. Forbes estimates that more than half the league is losing money while Canadian teams like the Leafs, the Canadiens and the Canucks rake in the cash.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are teams such as the Phoenix Coyotes, a team that has been bankrupt and owned by the league since 2005, or the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers, both money losers.

The league is broken, and it’s going to take something drastic to fix it. It might come in the way of revenue sharing, moving teams to stronger hockey markets (we hear Hamilton is dying for a hockey team), or shutting down teams in unsustainable markets.

There are no winners in this lockout. The league had a real chance to make inroads into the U.S. this year. Coming off an improbable championship, the Los Angeles Kings could have made hockey a feasible sport in southern California. The New York Rangers would have been Cup contenders, and the New York Islanders are now in Brooklyn. Meaning the NHL has a bigger footprint in the U.S.'s largest media market. The Minnesota Wild signed two of the most notable American players of their generation in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Instead players are forced to sit out and not do what they do best. Of course there are the fans, who are all but resigned to the fact that the chance of seeing professional hockey dwindles by the day.

— Ron Nurwisah

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