Red Wings fan boycotts cable because of lockout

Andrew Kuhn/Staff Photographer Dearborn Heights junior Eric Kierszkowski, poses for a portrait Tuesday afternoon in the CMU Music Building on campus. "I'm pretty angry about it, so mad that it comes down to money," said Kierszkowski. "Their not even close to making a deal."

Eric Kierszkowski has boycotted cable.

The Dearborn Heights junior isn't boycotting cable for its high prices. Nor does he have an issue with the content.

Sure enough, as soon as the Red Wings and Joe Louis Arena are broadcasted on Fox Sports Detroit, Eric will not only have bought cable, he would be watching every Red Wings game he could. Unfortunately, because of the lockout, that doesn't look like it is happening anytime soon.

"My roommates and I have boycotted getting cable just because there is no hockey," Kierszkowski said. "Typically my schedule revolves around watching the Red Wings, without hockey, there isn't much on cable that I would want to watch anyways."

Keith Jones, a Dearborn Heights junior, is not only Kierszkowski's roommate but also Kierszkowski's childhood friend. They were on the same hockey team since early childhood. The two finally moved in together this year. Jones said the lockout has put a void in their relationship.

"It sucks," Jones said. "We watched Red Wings games together during my sophomore and junior year, and one of the big reasons that we moved in together is so that I could go to his side of the apartment and watch the game. Now we can't do that."

Kierszkowski has been playing hockey since he was three years old, and played for his high school varsity hockey team, the Crestwood Chargers, as their goalie. At the age of three, his first hockey coach gave him the nickname of "Ski", a name not only derived from his dedication to hockey, but also the last three letters of his last name. The name has stuck ever since.

But more than that, he is also a die-hard Red Wings fan. Despite his busy schedule, he still makes it to three to five games a year.

"Even if the Red Wings weren't the best team in the NHL, I would still watch every game," Kierszkowski said. "... I am a true Wings fan for life."

Kierszkowski distinctly remembers March 21, 2006, where he witnessed the Red Wings go into a shootout against Nashville. 2006 was the first year of the new overtime format, which brought shootouts into the forefront of the game. The final play of the shootout that occurred between Nashville and Detroit is engraved in "Ski's" memory.

"Pavel Datsyuk pulled his famous deke on goaltender Tomas Vokoun and made him look silly," Kierszkowski said. "Being in attendance to watch that happen was amazing."

The cheers in Joe Louis Arena that night were deafening, but the stadium is mostly quiet this year. It was announced on Sept. 14, that the league would formally enter a lockout if an agreement wasn’t made between Gary Bettman and the team owners and the players by Saturday at midnight. On Sept. 16, 2012, at 12:01 a.m., the NHL officially entered its second lockout in seven years.

The lockout has especially impacted Michigan, resulting in the cancellation of the Winter Classic, a game which was supposed to take place between the Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs outside in the Big House.

"I have definitely lost respect for the NHL because of the lockout," he said. "What the NHL and NHLPA have done is lost what the game is all about. Rather than arguing about who should be earning a higher share of income in the future, the two sides should be discussing ways to promote higher attendance ratings at games, or bring the game to deprived children who don’t have access to hockey rinks or can’t afford it."

Kierszkowski's ritual is listening to AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" before every Red Wings game. He dreams of throwing an octopus on the ice while attending a Red Wings hockey game. Maybe, sometime this year, both of those scenarios will become plausible again.

"If the lockout were to be resolved, an epic fist pump would occur, and I would immediately call the cable company to hook it up," Kierszkowski said.

But until then, he's only going to have 13 channels.


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