Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/19/05 at 08:12 AM ET
Walk into any of Canada's six NHL arenas and you'll soon see them: portraits, rafter banners and statues memorializing the lions of hockey's past. For years in Vancouver, fans on their way to their seats at the old Pacific Coliseum passed beneath a looming, sepia-tinged photograph of Fred "Cyclone" Taylor, the rushing defenceman who in 1915 helped bring the city its only Stanley Cup. At the Saddledome in Calgary, it's colour shots of the redoubtable Lanny McDonald, moustache in full splendour, holding his 500-goal puck. In Edmonton, fans and scalpers gather beneath the statue of Wayne Gretzky hoisting the Stanley Cup. Now picture, if you will, some likeness of Gary Bettman in any of these places. A smaller effigy, perhaps, to reflect both the NHL commissioner's physical stature and the fact that, so far as anyone knows, he's never laced up a pair of skates. But there nonetheless, alongside the game's great heroes, its builders and its keepers. Gary Bettman, Saviour of Small Market Canadian Franchises. Who'd have thunk?
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