By: Cassie Dresch

Dear Commissioner Bettman,

Thank you. Yes, I said thank you. I mean it sincerely and from the bottom of my heart. On this 11th day of October in the year 2012, the NHL season was supposed to start. Tonight at 7 p.m. the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens were supposed to kick off the 2012-2013 NHL season.

Daniel Alfredsson was supposed to lace up his skates for what was most likely his last season before retirement; Erik Karlsson was supposed to defend his Norris Trophy victory as best defenceman; and Jason Spezza was supposed to light up Carey Price with a highlight reel goal or two. Instead, the Bell Centre sits empty, desolate and completely devoid of all excitement.

This, of course, is actually a blessing in disguise. Disregard what all of the hockey writers are saying. A lockout is the best thing this league needs right now. A lockout is the best thing I need right now.

As if we haven’t learned from the last lockout a mere eight years ago and the one 10 years before that, also under your regime. No hockey means I can increase my productivity level instead of wasting countless evenings in front of the television watching the game I love.

Finally I can focus all of my attention on my homework! I’m sure my professors will be equally pleased with this. Why would I multi-task and do my homework at the intermissions, finishing it on time anyway? That’s an absurd idea.

I can also finally take up a new hobby. I have always wanted to try knitting. I can imagine a hand-knit Sens jersey would be quite cozy to wear while I don’t watch hockey. I can even knit you a scarf with dollar signs on it.

I know that I’m not the only person who will be taking up new activities with our free time. Computer programmer student James Harrison, 29, says he will take up the vuvuzela. I’m sure we’ll need his skills to drown out the lofty demands of the NHL Players’ Association.

Another student, Rory Macdonald-Gauthier, also has plans, but his are far more profound. You see, the 23-year-old first-year journalism student is an employee at Scotiabank Place and he usually works during Sens home games. Since he now doesn’t have a job for the foreseeable future, his focus has become philosophy.

“I may try and figure out the cryptic riddles of – is it ketchup or catsup? Football or soccer?” he said.

I know it seems like I’m being sarcastic, but let me guarantee you this is genuine sincerity. Why won’t you believe me, Mr. Bettman? I’m not the only one who feels this way. Algonquin graduate Chris Gregorio has been a hockey fan for 12 years but even he now sees the benefits of another lockout!

“I think the approaching lockout is a great thing,” said Gregorio, 22. “Nothing bad can come of it for the sport of hockey, particularly the NHL. The fan base will definitely be stronger and more prevalent once this lockout is all said and done with.”

So there you have it, Mr. Bettman. I just cannot stop thanking you. Hockey is so meaningless. Why on earth would I want to enjoy a full season of it? It’s not like hockey is the lifeblood of so many Canadians like myself.