I confess I ride the bandwagon when it comes to hockey. That is, I tune in now and again during the season, but really only have my interest piqued during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
However, with all the recent media coverage of team owners and players being locked in a contract dispute, I, along with other hockey fans across North America, am legitimately wondering whether NHL players will have a chance to lace up their skates this year.
With training camps set to start in just a few weeks, both sides report they're still far apart in their negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement and it's raising the spectre of yet another cancelled season.
I have to admit I will be disappointed should there be a lockout, especially now that my four-year-old son is just beginning to have the patience to watch and understand what the sport is about.
At the same time, I know that hockey is a business and both the owners and the players have a right to earn a fair return for their efforts, on and off the ice. But I must admit it does bother me when I look at the cost of a ticket to attend an NHL game (or almost any other pro sports event) as I wonder how this money could be used all around the world and here at home to help children and their families who are facing poverty and despair.
But while in the midst of these tense times, there is a positive.
Three NHL stars have joined forces to help World Vision Canada to help thousands of children facing hunger in West Africa.
The Nashville Predators' Mike Fisher, Chris Neil of the Ottawa Senators and Kevin Bieksa of the Vancouver Canucks have created awareness about the deadly food crisis through this video.
Take a moment to learn about the food crisis and how it's affecting thousands of West African children, and if you want to donate, check out World Vision Canada's website. Keep in mind that the Canadian government is matching donations made to registered charities that are providing aid to people affected by the West African crisis.
In the meantime, let's keep our fingers crossed and hope the players and owners can work out their differences in time for another season of great hockey.