Tell Us How You Feel, Krys Barch

Credit: Hockey Photography by Yuri Peralta

A few days ago, Krys Barch posted a multi-tweet rant on Twitter illustrating his thoughts on the NHL lockout. Perhaps it could’ve been sparked by the adult beverage or two he admitted to consuming at the time, but I’d say it’s more likely he is just flat out as fed up as the rest of us. I have met the former Panther tough guy before, and he is just as animated in person as he is on the ice or behind his keyboard. In case you missed it, here is said rant:

“I sit here from Gand Bend, Ontario putting a pen to my heart and writing on paper what bleeds out. My name is Krys Barch. I have played approx 5 1/2 years in the NHL and have worked for every second of it. I Haven’t been a 1st round pick, bonus baby or a son of a hall of famer. I have made it through sweating, bleeding, cut Achilles, broken hands, concussions, broken orbital bones, 8 teeth knocked out, etc, etc, etc. I sit in front of a fire, 8 OV deep and starting a bottle of Porte that will assist in the translations of my emotions to words! No different than a truck driver, farmer or line worker. I have a shot and a beer. Not to deal with the days ahead but to ease the nerves from what my body has endured the days before I sit here with both my boys sleeping and my wife due with our 3rd. My thoughts racing on what I can conquer tomorrow to get our family ahead. Sometimes wondering if I should have existed when a word and a gun solidified and solved all problems. I feel the Wild West would more simplified than the world we live in now whet an employer who makes billions of dollars and a league with record revenues can tell me that I can’t do the things that my heart tells my me to do! All what my heart tells me to do far surpasses what my body has endured. As I write this I dive deeper and deeper into my bottle of Porte giving wider views to the depths of my heart As my pen warms from the fire, Neil Young and a fall Canadian night, I wonder how this work stoppage effects the owners? I wonder if the owners of Boston, New York, Washington, etc, etc, have endured any of the injuries that I or any other player in the NHL have endured. Still they probably sit their smoking the same brand of cigar, sipping the same cognac, and going on vacation to one of five houses they own… While we sit here knowing they want to take 20% of our paychecks. One half to 3/4 of my peers will have to work for the next 50 years of their lives. Congratulations to the lucky select few that I have played with who have made salaries that they can choose to do whatever they want when they are done. But I have played with most who do not! If the NHL wants to teams in the south or struggling markets than the players along with the financially well to do teams need to start working together. Or they need to start to move teams to the North where they will make money. The system allows the owners to continually take money from the players contract after contract where eventually over 40 some years the owners will have 80% of revenue. The only way to stop the work stoppages long into the future is fix the root cause of the problems. The lockout Is a procedure to take from the players to pay for the NHL mistakes. Let’s not allow the NHL to make any more mistakes. Let the league and the players to come together to fix the mistakes that have been made and make sure none are made in the future. Lets get a deal where the owners, players, and fans benefit from. We’re we can be sitting around in beautiful Canadian fall’s around a fire playing and watching the game we love. Here’s to the truth and our next conversation. As always speaking from my Heart! Goodnight! Like me or hate me I speak what comes from my heart!”

It’s pretty powerful stuff. I was outright suprised at how oddly poetic Barch sounded in his tweets (not exactly what you’d expect from a hockey player, right?) I was impressed with how he shamelessly gets very personal. He effectively did so in mentioning past injuries, his wife, his children, his dedication to not only the game but also to those he plays alongside. His devotion and passion seeps through, really bringing to light the fact that a lockout doesn’t only keep him from playing the sport he loves, it halts his professional career too.

It’s easy to look past that notion when thinking of professional athletes seeing as how they make significantly more than the “average Joe” does. At the end of the day, let it not be forgotten that they do make endless sacrifices for that level of compensation. Their daily lives consist of constant travel, less availability to their families, irregular schedules and risking injury to their bodies, often putting their personal well-being at stake. I’m not saying “oh, playing hockey for a living must be soooo tough,” though I am acknowledging it might not always be the cake walk people think it is.

Back to the rant, I like that Barch didn’t hold back in his anger but kept his words relatively respectful throughout. While he did get into the nitty gritty of the percentages, he didn’t call anyone out in specific. Smart move on his part, and he still accomplished painting a pretty accurate picture of how it appears that one side is suffering much more than the other in these hard times.

Of course, as a Panther fan, the one part I was not okay with was what seemed to be a knock on the southern-most teams in the league. A lockout is more than enough to have to cope with… how dare you even joke about moving us north!

Thanks for reading. Any comments are welcome.

Want to talk more hockey? Follow the Panther Parkway staff on Twitter! Me: @gabbykiger, Frank Rekas: @TheRatTrick Josh Luecht:@joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin: @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin: @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez:@davidbub_2, Paige Lewis: @peejlewiz, Adam Reid: @AdamReid_, Justen Rosenberg: @justenrosenberg, Chrissy Parente: @Chrissaay44, and Amanda Land: @HockeyGirl2530.


  1. I am a Kings’ fan in California, and I have a half-season plan. I doubt there is any group more disappointed than Kings’ fans. We finally get a banner and the home opener is canceled. I have several issues with Barch’s comments and this article (and for the record I’m a standard middle class guy):
    1. The whole cognac and cigar bit was completely disingenuous. I’m tired of silly stereotypes and assumptions. It is not fact based and is even worse coming from a guy who works in an industry (the NHL) that STARTS it’s employees at $500k per year. Let’s poll some of the most dangerous occupations on the planet – underwater welders, military, police, oil rig operators, firemen – and ask them which of those occupations starts at $500k per year. How many ever even have the potential to make $500k per year? I was a machinegunner in the Marine Corps twenty years ago. I made $1,000.00 per month.

    2. Like it or not, the NHL players are employees. There is no shared sacrifice and they are not “partners” with the owners. They sign a contract that they’re guaranteed to collect, collect their check, player their games, and they’re done. If the team loses money, they are not required to give up some portion of their check. Their check amounts are not tied to revenue. The amount that they can ask for is tied to revenue, but once they have their contract, the money is guaranteed. They can’t even be fired or laid-off in the standard fashion. During layoffs, most people get called into a room or an office and are notified that they’re being let go. In some instances they get severance (a few weeks pay), and in other instances they are left empty-handed and unemployed.

    3. Ms. Kiger references the “sacrifice” of the players. I was in the Marine Corps from 1990 to 1994. I did not participate in the first Gulf War. Yet here is the casualty count during this relatively peaceful time: 1 Marine accidentally shot and killed in a training accident, 1 Marine killed and 1 severely injured when they put up a 292 (antenna) in the dark and it crossed a power line. On one six month deployment on the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) we lost 6 Marines and Sailors (1 sailor died of an ailment, 4 sailors killed when an E2C when down in the water, and 1 blown overboard and never found).

    4. Mr. Barch references not being able to play the sport that he loves. But the fact is that he can. There are leagues all around the world where he can play. If he CHOOSES not to, then that’s a personal choice NOT to work that most people don’t have the luxury of making.

    5. According to capgeek, Mr. Barch signed with the New Jersey Devils for $750,000 per season (2 year deal). So let’s take his silly hyperbole about the owners eventually taking 80% of his check seriously for a moment. 80% of $750,000 would still leave him with $150,000. This is still higher than the median household income for a two income family.

    6. Going back to his cognac and cigars comments, allow me to throw my own out: While Barch is taking the summer off lounging on the beach in Hawaii griping about selfish owners, the owners are working on lease agreements, team relocations, negotiating with the governments of their various cities, securing funding for arenas, negotiating labor rates, discussing new rules, while at the same time attending to their other business interests which put them in a position to own an NHL team. Stereotypes and hyperbole cut both ways.

    • Hi John. I will not argue against each of your points, but I would like to point out the flaw in your only actual point. When you state the players are guaranteed their paycheck you are quite frankly, wrong. The current proposals by the league to the players has all sorts of restrictions and rollbacks in place to ensure that the players will in fact not be receiving their contracts that they were promised prior to this lockout. Currently they are also not getting paid, so, according to who you referenced, Barch is set to make 750,000 this year, that is if the season started on opening night; please not that it did not. The owners “50/50” revenue proposal had the players playing a full 82 games, but only getting paid 7/8 of their full salaries. The players are paid based on the calendar, not games played. So losing 1 of 8 months means they would be losing 1/8 their pay. Now, as for future pay, what wasn’t really reported which worked perfectly for Bettman and the owners was that over the next years of the future bargaining agreement the players would be losing a percentage of each years pay, which would grow each year. Now, how is that an issue they are still making millions right? When you have planned your future based on promised pay, it can be quite alarming when your career is in jeopardy. You claim this is a vacation for Barch, let me tell you Grand Bend Ontario is geographically no where near Hawaii nor is it anywhere near as luxurious. Before you go and infer he is lazy for not packing up the family, and travelling around the world to play hockey in one of the other leagues, consider he has a family family, children starting school, a wife due to give birth. Bravo for him, not being tempted by the paycheck overseas, bravo for him, not taking the job of another player. He cares about the league, the NHLPA has proposed may offers that would ensure all owners make money. If you knew the facts you wouldn’t say that the owners are trying to be fiscally responsible, because they are showing nothing but greed. It would cost each of the 10 most profitable organizations an estimated 3 million dollars a year to ensure the 10 lowest profitable team remained successful. Why, when a team makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year would they not agree to one of these deals proposed by the PA? Irregardless of your personal opinion, the success of the whole league makes the rich teams rich. However, Bettman and his team of lawyers want to get the $3,000,000 a year per team from the players. Rollback the salaries that were promised by the owners. You say that the paycheck isn’t determined by the overall revenue, when every fact points the other way. The rich get richer, and the poor stabilize by pulling the carpet from those they promised to support.

  2. thanks!

  3. Great post and hell no! Don’t you move us north! :-)


  1. […] beverage” induced rant on Twitter this past Saturday night, which Panther Parkway writer Gabby Kiger eloquently reviewed.  Tactful, yet willing to say some things that he felt needed to be said, […]

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