NHL Apologizes to Fans in Newspaper Ads

Letter to run in every franchise city

Sorry is as sorry does. Case in point: The National Hockey League is placing full-page apology ads in major U.S. and Canadian newspapers in the run-up to resumption of play this weekend following a bitter lockout that's truncated the season from 82 to 48 games. Most commenters take a dim view of the "Dear Fans" letter, decrying higher ticket prices, the perceived greed/arrogance of both labor and management, and the income lost by stadium, bar, restaurant and hotel workers because of the dispute. I suppose the paid-media mea culpa was to be expected, along with the generally negative reaction. It's probably not the least sincere professional-sports apology ever. (Lance Armstrong may end up owning that crown for some time—if he can stoop to actually saying the words "I'm sorry.") Still, some of the NHL's wording seems odd. The second paragraph starts, "We are committed to earning back your trust and support." Placing a period after the first five words would've summed up the position of owners and players quite nicely. And there's this line: "So let's drop the puck and marvel at all the remarkable things the players do with it." I'm sure disgruntled and disgusted fans could supply plenty of creative and painful suggestions. Read the full letter below: