Like a Joni Mitchell song, Victoria Royals GM Cameron Hope has looked at life from both sides now.
As a young lawyer, he represented the Canadian Football League Players' Association. Years later, he was caught in the eye of the hurricane on the management side with the New York Rangers when the 2004-05 NHL season was lost to a lockout. He eventually became the Rangers' assistant GM and chief capologist - charged with navigating the labyrinth known as the salary cap.
But the current NHL lockout even has him befuddled.
"A couple of months ago, I predicted with 100 per cent certainty that a deal would be done by now. There are such smart, experienced guys on both sides," he said.
"Since my first prediction didn't work out, I've stopped predicting," he chuckled.
What now most concerns other hockey leagues is how the lockout will affect them. Will WHL teams get a boost in markets such as Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, which are now without NHL hockey? Will fans in other North American markets seek out minorpro alternatives such as the AHL or ECHL?
"On the business side, there will be less hockey available to watch without the NHL," Hope noted.
"But hockey fans are hockey fans, and hopefully there is a trickle down to junior leagues and other pro leagues."
The biggest effect on the WHL will come from players who could be returned to junior but who would otherwise have stayed in the pros if not for the lockout. The Royals don't have any such players, but rival WHL teams do, and they could suddenly get better.
"This could make it more difficult for us," Hope admitted. "But we'll be OK. We'll be ready."
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