Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/23/05 at 12:49 AM ET
Friday, in a cramped New York City hotel ballroom, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presided over the welcome-back ceremonies after the owners unanimously ratified the armistice that brings about an end to the bitter labor war between the league and its players' union that nearly killed the game as it dragged on for 10 months. "With the ratification of the new (collective bargaining agreement), let me be the first to welcome you to our new season," Bettman said, starting his formal remarks on a positive tone that would continue throughout his speech. And, make no mistake, a positive attitude was demanded for this event. The "game on" announcement could be nothing less than a celebration of all the things that hockey fans adore about the game they have been denied since Tampa Bay hoisted the Stanley Cup last June. Friday had to be about moving away from the darkest days of this lockout; days when it appeared both sides were waging a scorched-earth campaign destined to leave the pro game a distant memory. And, move away Bettman did, hitting all the proper notes as he reopened the NHL for business. After thanking nearly everyone that ever attended a bargaining session for their part in brokering the peace, Bettman turned his attention to the customers, the fans who sat by through all the bickering, name-calling and proposal-trading. "We will return this game to our fans with a promise — a promise to be the best we can be," said Bettman. "We pledge to our fans that we will do everything we can to make it up to you." Bettman also stressed restoration of the league's "covenant with the fans" — a pact that was torn asunder last September with the league's cancellation of the 2004-05 season. It not only sounded sincere — which it, no doubt, was — but it also provided the sound clips that jilted fans will be happy to hear as the league attempts to move forward and rise from its own ashes. But, in the end, they were just words
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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