Date of Publication

Spring 2013

Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Professor's Name

Katharine Burakowski


There have been many lockouts in professional sports over the last decade (Drewes, 2005). The NHL has had four lockouts in the last twenty years (Fitzpatrick, n.d.). In the past research has shown during a lockout fans will find ways to cope with the loss of a season (Grieve, Shoenfelt, Wann & Zapalac, 2009; Winfree & Fort, 2008). After the lockout in 2004-2005 the NHL used marketing strategies to attract new fans to the sport (Gee, 2009; Batchelor & Formentin, 2008).

There has been no previous research on why fans choose the coping mechanisms they use. There has also been no research done about what the NHL can do to help keep these fans interested during a lockout. This research will be important because this will help professional sport leagues in the future if they enter a lockout. The goal of my research is to find out what coping mechanisms fans are using, why they are using them, and what the NHL can do to help them remain interested during and after a lockout.

For my research I distributed a survey using snowball sampling through social media. I hit my target audience with almost 50% high identified fans and 50% low identified.

Through my research I found the coping mechanism s remained the same, I also found a new one. I found that a large percentage of low identified fans cope with the loss of a season by watching a different sport. I also determined three ways the NHL can retain both high and low identified fans throughout the course of a lockout.