Now the fans are in control.
Not only did the NHL squander nearly half a season with its infuriating lockout, it also tested the patience and loyalty of its most passionate supporters.
Now league and the players need us more than ever.
Ticket sales, TV numbers, sponsorship - it's all fan-driven.
We're the ones who create the much-coveted revenue pie.
If we turn our backs on the game, that pie will shrivel to a crust.
There's been much talk of a serious public backlash against the 2012-13 NHL lockout. But is it just talk?
Recent history says we just want our hockey: after the 2004-05 labor war, grateful fans returned in greater numbers than ever before.
The league and the players are desperately hoping it happens again.
Where do you stand?
Are you ready to stand up and cheer when your team hits the ice?
Or has the NHL jerked you around for the last time?
Photo: Arena workers in Winnipeg install the Jets logo as the NHL gets set to begin the season (Marianne Helm/Getty Images) .