In the midst of the hoopla surrounding the end of the National Hockey League lockout, let's not forget the "little guys" - the major junior, junior A, and junior B leagues that continued to run throughout Canada and the U.S. while businessmen in tailored suits haggled in boardrooms over billions of dollars of revenue.
Don't overlook the fact that, in the months that followed the NHL officially locking out its players Sept. 15, affordable, entertaining junior hockey was being played at an arena near you.
As the debacle dragged on, it was hard to feel any sympathy at all for either side, not the billionaire owners nor the millionaire players, whose average salary is a staggering $2.45 million per season.
At the top of the totem pole sits Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby, whose average salary is $8.7 million per year - before endorsments.
NHLers on the lowest end of the pay scale are paid more than most B.C. residents can dream of making in a year.
The minimum players' salary starts at $525,000. By the time the collective bargaining agreement reaches its 10th and final year, that number will be bumped up to $750,000. Considering the average Canadian adult's annual wage is $46,000, the lowest paid NHLer currently makes about 10 times more.
Yes, these athletes are the cream of the crop, the very top percentile of their profession, but let's face facts - they chase a rubber disc around a sheet of ice for a living.
Closer to home, the Abbotsford Pilots Jr. B hockey team leads the Harold Brittain Conference with 46 points (with the Mission Icebreakers trailing in fourth).
Within 30 minutes in either direction, you'll also find the BCHL's Jr. A Langley Rivermen (on a four-game winning streak), the Chilliwack Chiefs (first in the Mainland Division), and at the Aldergrove Arena, the junior B Kodiaks, winners of their past nine outings.
All of these young teams need support as they represent their communities with pride.
Save your hard-earned cash. Support junior hockey by going to one of the games.
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