Although the National Hockey League is locked in a bitter labor disagreement, the Penn State women’s hockey team is in full swing.
Defender Lindsay Reihl is using the NHL lockout to her advantage despite wishing to see her beloved New York Rangers take the ice at Madison Square Garden this season.
“Whenever I hear anyone complaining about the lockout, I say, ‘well, come watch us,’ ” Reihl said. “Still get your dose of hockey.’
Reihl said she is excited she can still play and she understands what the players are going through because she experiences the same feeling during her summer off-season when she plays for different clubs and teams.
The NHL lockout is a result of a disagreement of the revenue split, among other things, between the owners and players. The latest proposal from the NHL owners and commissioner Gary Bettman was a 50-50 split of the earnings. However, the National Hockey League Player’s Association, headed by Donald Fehr, had both of the counter-proposals rejected.
The deadline to save a full season of play has been set for Oct. 25.
Defender Stephanie Walkom said she is unsure an agreement will be reached, but she is hoping for one.
“I just want it to be over,” Walkom said, “so I can watch some games when I go home for Thanksgiving.”
Stephen Walkom, Stephanie’s father, is a full-time NHL referee and during the lockout, he has been coaching his son and daughter’s club teams in Pittsburgh.
Stephanie said she got to travel with her father to All-Star and Stanley Cup games when she was younger and said her younger brother and sister would like to do the same.
Defender Madison Smiddy said she cannot imagine the feeling the players are experiencing without playing in the NHL and that if she was in the situation, she would switch to roller hockey just to be reunited with a puck.
“I feel awful for them,” Smiddy said. “Hockey is just an amazing sport, once you get inside the board, nothing else matters. I’m sure they’re like a caged lion right now.”
Reihl said she misses watching the Rangers, but she still knows what they have been thinking because she follows the players on Twitter, including goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has been one of the more outspoken players against the lockout.
Smiddy grew up in New Mexico, but followed her dad’s teams, which led her to become a Boston Bruins fan. Smiddy said she is frustrated because she wants to watch her team, but she cannot.
“My nights are lonely without them, but soon to be back. I have to rearrange my schedule. I can’t procrastinate with watching the hockey game,” Smiddy said.
Then, with a chuckle, she said, “I have to actually do my homework.”