Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: gary bettman
Today's legal news comes from Reuters...
The NHL’s players union on Friday urged a U.S. court not to grant Commissioner Gary Bettman broad power to override arbitrators when deciding how severely to discipline players for improper on-ice conduct.
Citing a recent appeals court ruling against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the NHL Players’ Association said Bettman should not be allowed to restore a 20-game suspension of Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman for hitting a linesman, after an arbitrator cut the ban to 10 games.
The NHL had sued to revive the longer suspension on June 8, contending that the arbitrator reviewing the matter under the league’s collective agreement was not “neutral,” and ignored substantial evidence justifying the original ban.
But in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the NHLPA said Wideman’s 10-game ban should stand.
Citing the April 25 court ruling restoring Brady’s four-game suspension from the NFL for deflating footballs, the union said federal courts have only “narrowly circumscribed” authority to review labor arbitration decisions.
“A federal court may not require perfection in arbitration awards,” the union said. “The court must simply ensure that the arbitrator was even arguably construing or applying the contract and acting within the scope of his authority and did not ignore the plain language of the contract. There can be no credible dispute that this was the case here.”
And the Associated Press:
The Chicago Tribune's Chris Hine spoke with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the You Can Play Project's Patrick Burke about the inevitable moment that the NHL welcomes an openly gay player to the fold:
The NHL is preparing. It backed up its words of encouragement with action in that direction in April when it suspended former Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw for a playoff game after Shaw was caught on camera directing a homophobic slur at an official. Bettman said he was hoping to send a message to the rest of the league that his office would not tolerate the use of that word.
"You want to eliminate the use of the word, but the fact is, what you do in response to set the right tone in terms of what's acceptable is more important than the word itself," Bettman said. "So making clear, in a strong, clear prompt way that this is not acceptable I hope transcends the use of the word itself. I mean, the word is symbolic and the suspension was symbolic, but what I'm hoping the suspension relayed to people was that type of belief, that kind of culture is not acceptable in the NHL."
Bettman said he has not heard from any closeted players in the league, but Burke said the You Can Play Project has heard from some. As for the theories about why no former or current players are out, one holds water with Burke.
from Dave Stubbs of NHL.com,
For days, Commissioner Bettman has heard suggestions from fans and those inside hockey for ways to honor Howe, who truly was a pioneer of the game for his sensational performance on the ice and exemplary manners and generosity off it.
Some, including Wayne Gretzky, have been quoted as saying Howe's No. 9 should be retired from the game forever, as Gretzky's No. 99 was retired on Feb. 6, 2000 at the NHL's 50th All-Star Game. Others have suggested all 30 NHL teams wear a No. 9 patch on their jerseys next season.
"We're going to come up with something that's an enduring testament to Gordie," Commissioner Bettman said Thursday from his office in New York. "There will be something that appropriately celebrates his life and creates a lasting tribute to his immortality. It will be something that will be special and enduring and permanent."
Bill Daly was there too.
Information from a few hockey guys on Twitter (highlights)...
Bettman says he is "fairly certain" he'll have more definitive word on expansion at the June 22 B of G meeting in Las Vegas. Four options.
Options: 1. No expansion; 2. Expansion but deferred to later date; 3. Expansion by 1 team; 4. expansion by 2 teams.
Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle are no longer aggressively trying to sell the #pens, per Gary Bettman.
Bill Daly says "I wouldn't rule it out" when asked about whether there'll be ads on sweaters at the World Cup.
from Eben Novy-Williams and Scarlet Fu of Bloomberg,
The National Hockey League may miss out on as much as $200 million this season because of the slide of the Canadian dollar, according to league commissioner Gary Bettman.
Bettman said in an interview on Bloomberg Television that while he still believes the NHL will set a revenue record this year, it will do so in spite of a Canadian dollar that fell to a 13-year-low in January.
“It’s a fact of life, it’s something we deal with,” Bettman said.
The Loonie has since rebounded, rising to 76 U.S. cents from 68 U.S. cents, but remains well below the 92-cent rate of two years ago. Bettman said the league, which is currently considering expanding to Las Vegas or Quebec City, assumes it will stabilize at about 80 U.S. cents.
The league will record an estimated $4 billion in revenue for the 2015 fiscal year, up about 8 percent from last year’s record $3.7 billion. About one-third of the NHL’s revenue comes from Canada -- either from ticket sales for the seven teams North of the border, its $5.2 billion television deal with Rogers Communications Inc. (which pays in Loonies) or from Canadian sponsorships. For a league that conducts all its business in U.S. dollars, a weak Canadian dollar means less profit.
from Jesse Spector of The Sporting News,
“It starts with, which is more important, to be fast or to get it right?” Bettman said. “I know there’s been some criticism about, ‘Get rid of the whole system! It takes too long!’ The fact of the matter is, does it really matter if the skate is this much offside? Well, yeah, it matters. Frankly, if we don’t get it right, and it’s an important or deciding factor in the game, we’re going to hear about it.”
Bettman is right about this. There are calls from decades ago that still draw the ire of hockey fans. Not all would be subject to review or challenge under the current system, but getting more calls correct is a reasonable objective. Sacrificing a little bit of time in the name of fair competition is a worthwhile thing.
“It’s a close call sometimes, and sometimes it’s a hard call to make,” Bettman said. “Our guys are doing the best that they can to get it right. That’s the most important thing. The more we do it, the faster it will get. We added cameras on the goal line for the playoffs. We added cameras in the crossbar. We’re constantly trying to move forward with the technology that’s available to us.”
from Scott Stinson at the Toronto Sun,
The NHL commissioner, speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the annual gathering on the Boston waterfront that is like Woodstock for data nerds, was asked about the possibility of tweaking the NHL playoff system to add one-game “play-in” games similar to what now happens with baseball’s wild-card teams. “To me, it doesn’t make any sense,” Bettman said, shaking his head. Why go through the grind of the 82-game regular season just to be punted from the playoffs in one day?
Moments later, after acknowledging the great success of the new 3-on-3 overtime format, Bettman was asked if could see the NHL introducing it, or the shootout, in the playoffs. He didn’t hesitate: no. TWO agreements with the NHL commissioner in the space of five minutes? Was this the end times?
Thankfully, no. For the rest of his chat on stage, the NHL commissioner was his usual self, dismissive of all criticism and firmly ensconced in a world in which the league has never made a poor decision and hockey always manages to be better today than it was yesterday.
via Mark Lazerus tweets,
Gary Bettman says the NHL is "extraordinarily pleased" with the challenge system. Calls it close to perfect.
Gary Bettman says it's supposed to be a judgment call. Says the NFL doesn't do replay for pass interference, so it's a new idea.
Bettman brushes aside criticism of http://NHL.com , saying people always resistant to change. Says people need to "play with it."
Booing then Louing...
From the New York Post's Larry Brooks:
What did the Flames know and when did they know it?
That will become the critical issue in the aftermath of the Dennis Wideman incident that could become the NHL’s Concussiongate once all appeals are exhausted and the final verdict is handed down on the Calgary defenseman, currently serving a 20-game suspension under Rule 40.2 for having violently crosschecked (my words) linesman Don Henderson on Jan. 27.
The rule that stipulates “intent to injure” was applied even though the league acknowledged Wideman had suffered a brain injury as the result of taking a hard check into the glass/dasher seconds before running into — or running — Henderson.
The later diagnosed concussion will figure prominently in the NHLPA’s appeal to league commissioner Gary Bettman. While it is unfathomable that the commissioner will reduce the sentence and incur the wrath of the officials working the ice — Yellow Sunday, anyone? — an all but inevitable ensuing appeal to an independent arbitrator could well yield a different result.
Because the sub-question to the one posed above is, can a player in the immediate aftermath of suffering a brain injury form the intent to do anything, much less injure an official? Believe me, that’s posed as a question; I am not playing the role of a physician in this space.
And this too...
Bettman took over as the commish in early 1993, the extension will run through the 2022 NHL season.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman tells the media that John Scott was always welcomed to participate in the All-Star Game and is happy Scott decided to play.
from Gary Lawless of TSN,
LAWLESS: Did you go to Woodstock?
LAWLESS: Did you have a beard?
BETTMAN: I don't remember. If you do the math, that was a long time ago.
LAWLESS: Long hair?
BETTMAN: Yes, I had long hair. You’ll have to dig to find pictures.
LAWLESS: How did you get there?
BETTMAN: We drove. We were only there for a day because it was a little bit of a mess. When we got there it was time to go.
LAWLESS: Safety is a huge issue in all sports. Have you made an imprint as commissioner on that area in the NHL?
BETTMAN: I believe we have. Of all of the leagues, we have been leaders in player safety, particularly on the issue of concussions and that is something we continue to work on, on a daily basis. It's something that gets a lot of time and attention because it's important.
Gary Bettman spoke with Roger Millions about building a new arena in Calgary, and why it’s important for the city and the Flames.
How does the mayor of Calgary feel?
The NHL is hosting its eighth Winter Classic Friday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (1 p.m., NBC). USA TODAY Sports hockey columnist Kevin Allen recently interviewed Commissioner Gary Bettman about where he sees the Winter Classic going from here.
Q: You have already held Winter Classics in many of the historic venues around the country. But given the appeal of the game, I'm guessing there is no expiration date for the Winter Classic.
Bettman: There is almost an insatiable appetite for these games. These games are on our schedule as we are projecting years out.
Q: Has the Winter Classic become even larger than you envisioned when it was launched at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008?
Bettman: When I agreed that we should do this, and then I walked on the field in Buffalo and looked at 70,000 people, the rink and the snow … when the hair on the back of my neck settled down, it was clear we had something very special.
continue to USA TODAY for more...
The NHL's Board of Governors met on Monday, and NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports that the Board of Governors received an estimate as to where the 2016-17 salary cap's upper limit might lie...
The NHL's salary cap for the 2016-17 season could go up approximately $3 million, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday at the Board of Governors meeting.
The salary cap for the 2015-16 season is $71.4 million. It increased $2.4 million from 2014-15 to 2015-16.
"We gave them a very, very, very rough projection on what the cap could conceivably be next season, which will be somewhere between where it is now and up $3 million, in that range," Commissioner Bettman said. "That will depend on a variety of factors."
And the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno reports that the NHL is considering its options for its centennial season...
Plans for the NHL's centennial celebration are ongoing, and Bettman said the NHL had hired former IMG executive producer Steve Mayer as executive vice-president and executive producer, programming and creative development. Even though no announcements were made about what's to come in 2017, Toronto and Montreal are expected to be focal points.
"We think it's important to recognize the 100th anniversary of the league, which happens to be in conjunction with the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal, Canada's sesquicentennial and the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup," Bettman said. "We're looking forward to that."
But what are the plans regarding expansion? That's harder to determine, as the Associated Press notes:
via SportsBusiness Daily,
Eclipsing $4 billion in league revenue. The relaunch of the World Cup of Hockey. Talk of expansion to Las Vegas and Quebec City. A landmark media rights deal between the NHL and MLBAM. A new long-term deal with Adidas, as well as an equity stake in Fanatics. With the NHL in perhaps its strongest and most stable position ever, Bettman — the elder statesman among U.S. commissioners — isn’t taking his foot off the gas pedal.
via SportsBusiness Journal (paid sub.)
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman earned more than $9.6 million in salary and benefits during the league’s 2013-14 season, an increase of about $800,000 from the previous year, according to the league’s most recently released annual tax filing.
added 11:08am, Link now available for all to read.
From TSN's Frank Seravalli:
With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.
That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.
“Escrow” is the dirtiest word in hockey locker rooms.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this month the league is projected to pull in more than $4 billion in revenue, but he was not comfortable divulging a more specific estimate publicly.
Players will receive their first of 13 paycheques for the season on Oct. 15. They will also each pay $30 per day in NHLPA union dues, according to Gavin Management Group, for each day on an NHL roster - or $5,580 per full season with 186 working days.
Based on past returns, it is unlikely the players will receive that escrow money back in full. Since 2009-10, players have given a chunk of their escrow fund to the owners every season, resulting in what amounts to a pay cut.
Gary Bettman was on Sportsnet's Hockey Central today...
Part 2 is below...
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Brandon Sun,
At this time in 2012, the NHL season was on hold as officials from the league and Players' Association were embroiled in tense lockout negotiations. More than three months of hockey were lost before a 48-game season was salvaged.
Three years later, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr rave about the quality of play — some of the fastest and most exciting hockey they believe the sport has ever offered. Not only is the on-ice product thriving, but the relationship between the NHL and NHLPA is stronger than it has ever been.
"There have been times in the past where some might get the feeling that the union was working against us," Bettman said during a sit-down interview in his New York office. "Don and the union, people who work with him have been extraordinarily constructive, professional, in working on things that make sense to both of us.
"It doesn't mean we're not going to have disagreements about some things. But the places where we can work together, we are, and I think that's great for the game."
Bettman and Fehr are at the forefront of the friendlier NHL-NHLPA partnership. The two men have known each other for over 30 years, Bettman said, and there's at least a high level of respect in peace time and during labour talks.
In a phone interview last week, Fehr echoed Bettman's caveat that there are philosophical disagreements between the league and the players and also the feeling that the two sides can work together now to accomplish some positive things.
From Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman:
[A] few things haven’t stopped nagging at me since the commissioner’s afternoon media conference. If you go back to the June announcement explaining the process, Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confidently revealed a defined plan.
Now, we’re in a kind of limbo. No one — aside from Bettman, Daly and a few confidants — really understands where it stands and, more importantly, when (or how) it ends.
The obvious answer is: look, there’s at least $500 million to be made here, so don’t kid yourself. Money talks. But Tuesday’s announcement did create some doubt. In three months, we’ve gone from “Step Right Up!” to “Hold Your Horses.”
Despite that, there are some who privately believe Las Vegas is a slam dunk. I won’t go that far, because anything can happen, so put me into the “I believe it’s going to happen” category. It’s in the west, which is shy two teams right now. It’s bold, it will create major buzz, it’s got an owner who wants to get going already and it’s the anchor tenant in an arena owned by people who know how to stage events. If the NHL doesn’t do it, the NBA eventually will.
No matter the concerns about how many hockey fans are there and who will actually attend the games, I’ll be shocked if they don’t say, “We’re going to try it.”
Friedman continues with "30 Thoughts"...
USA Today's Kevin Allen makes quite the assertion this evening...
We don't have to debate whether the Chicago Blackhawks are a dynasty because Gary Bettman made them one by commissioner's decree. He referred to them as a "dynasty" in his remarks leading up to presenting the Stanley Cup to Jonathan Toews after the Blackhawks won the Cup with a 2-0 triumph against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
"I don't know what (dynasty) means," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. "We've got three in six years. I know that's pretty good."
That makes the Blackhawks the most decorated team in the post-salary cap era, and deserving to be called one of the top teams in NHL history.
Their current run doesn't measure up statistically to the great Montreal Canadiens teams from 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Toe Blake coached the Canadiens to five consecutive Stanley Cups from 1956-60. Scotty Bowman, who is an adviser for the Blackhawks, guided the Canadiens to four consecutive titles from 1976-79. The Canadiens had a 16-3 record in those four Stanley Cup Finals. Now Scotty's son, Stan, has been general manager of the three Stanley Cup winners in Chicago.
Chicago's run also isn't as lengthy as the New York Islanders run of four consecutive championships from 1980-83. The Edmonton Oilers also have their own distinction by winning five Stanley Cups over seven seasons from 1984 to 1990.
But the Blackhawks are now in the conversation to be called one of the great teams because they have won three titles at a time when the league is in a period of undeniable competitive balance. The statistical difference between the No. 1 team in the league and the No. 16 isn't as pronounced as it once was.
Gary Bettman answered questions from the media today in Tampa...
His opening remarks are below...
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There was a smarter way for Gary Bettman to handle a question about the existence of any connection between contact in hockey and the brain damage condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The commissioner should have replied that the league is currently involved in litigation and then declined to speak any further. Evasive, sure, but perfectly understandable.
Instead, he told reporters in Chicago on Thursday this:
“From a medical science standpoint, there is no evidence yet that one necessarily leads to the other,” Bettman said. “I know there are a lot of theories, but if you ask people who study it, they tell you there is no statistical correlation that can definitively make that conclusion.”
It was a page ripped from the climate-change denial playbook, a classic head-in-the-sand defense. Appalling ... but then again exactly what you’d expect the man to say.
more plus other hockey topics...
From the Associated Press:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expects the salary cap for the 2015-16 season to settle in around $71 million, depending on the fluctuations of the Canadian dollar.
Appearing between the first and second periods of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night between the Anaheim Ducks and hometown Blackhawks, the commissioner said he expects it to climb five per cent from this year’s cap figure of $69 million.
Bettman also faced several questions about concussions three months after the death of former defenceman Steve Montador, 35, who was subsequently found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephelopathy — or CTE — a degenerative brain disease.
So, uh, "Meanwhile in Winnipeg" (and George here, reporting on his least favorite person)...
Hm. Even I'm going with sympathy here. Kidney stones are awful, and I hope that the chairman feels better ASAP.
I can't believe i just said that, but you don't wish acute human suffering upon your worst enemies. Away from the rink, anyway.
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is in Nashville on Friday to attend Game 2 of the Predators' first-round series against the Blackhawks. Before the game, he discussed Nashville's impact on the NHL and league-wide topics.
On if it was good for the league to have a "non-traditional" market like Nashville have significant on-ice success:
"I'm not sure i'm comfortable any longer with the term 'non-traditional.' Fact is there are some cities that have franchises longer, but Nashville has built its own tradition, its own history. This team is very well-owned by Tom Cigarran and his partners. The team on the ice has been built the right way by David Poile, who's one of the preeminent general managers. And we're in a place as a league where we have incredible competitive balance, best in our history, probably the best in all of sports. We've got 20 teams that could have won the Stanley Cup in all probability and four of them didn't even make the playoffs.
And as we sit here at the very beginnings of the first round, the Stanley Cup is up for grabs and that's great news for fans. It's great news for fans in Nashville as there are high expectations and a team that performed extraordinarily well in the regular season."
On Las Vegas's pursuit of an NHL franchise:
"Mr.(Bill) Foley, who's the person interested in having an NHL franchise in Las Vegas, wanted to assess the strength of the fan base, potential fan base in Las Vegas. Las Vegas in that regard is at least perceived to be an unusual market. He began his ticket drive and while I'm not prepared to announce the results, because it's actually still ongoing, it has been very successful to date."
“The media debates it a lot, but we don’t get a lot of negative feedback from fans. In fact, when you see the way the races played out and the importance of every game in the regular season, there are teams that wish they had a couple of points from October and November they would have liked to have down the stretch. The point system is working extraordinarily well.”
-Gary Bettman when questioned about the current point system in the NHL. Craig Custance of ESPN has more (ESPN Insider).
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman joins Hockey Central at Noon to discuss the World Cup of Hockey, expansion to Las Vegas and much more.
On Tuesday, something a little puzzling happened: the NHL's commissioner visited a season ticket drive for a franchise that does not exist--not yet, anyway--while insisting that he's not necessarily supporting Bill Foley and the Maloof family's Las Vegas expansion plans. ESPN's Scott Burnside noted the strangeness of the situation:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who attended a news conference at the MGM Grand Casino to kick off the drive, insisted that the NHL hasn't made any commitment to anyone regarding becoming the first major professional sports league to venture into the gambling and tourist mecca.
"We're not in the expansion process and I need to keep making that clear,'' Bettman said.
Still, the optics of Bettman's presence for many observers were more powerful than words and seemed to indicate the NHL was in fact ready to make the expansion plunge provided the ticket drive is as successful, as a number of sources expect it to be.
Even before potential owners Bill Foley and the Las Vegas-based Maloof family started taking deposits on season tickets from interested fans on Tuesday afternoon, sources told ESPN.com that more than 9,000 individuals had reached out to organizers to express interest in paying to watch NHL hockey in Las Vegas.
Continued, and this is the important part:
Bettman told ESPN.com that Foley and his group have committed a lot of time and money (close to $2 million, a source told ESPN.com) and that Foley had invited him to attend the media event to see the level of enthusiasm and support for hockey in the city.
"I figured why not go out and see what he's got?" Bettman said shortly before boarding a flight back to New York.
"The event was well done," he added. "There was a big turnout and a high level of enthusiasm."
Edit: The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Alan Snel also provides the Nevadan perspective:
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr took part in an intriguing interview with the Associated Press's Josh Warrow, but in discussing the 2016 World Cup from the NHLPA and then the NHL's perspectives, a certain sports commissioner reminded us that the relationship between the players and league remains...complicated:
“What we have to be able to do is basically demonstrate, explain, show to sports fans and non-sports fans what this game is all about, and what the people who play it are all about,” Fehr said. “And if that doesn’t produce significant movement and attractiveness to the game, we’re in big trouble. But I think it will.”
Bettman shares that vision and credits Fehr’s arrival with providing the game — and union — much-needed stability after the NHLPA went through a lengthy stretch of upheaval and infighting after a lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season. Following Bob Goodenow’s resignation in July 2005, the union went through three executive directors before Fehr took over in 2010.
“It’s not a coincidence that the last decade-plus we haven’t had a World Cup because we haven’t had anybody to deal with on a long-term stable basis at the union to make decisions that had to be made to do an international tournament,” Bettman told the AP. “The fact that we’re now in a situation where there’s a strong union, which I believe is important and a good thing, we can pursue mutual goals and objectives to build the game.”
The owners, Bettman noted, deserve credit, too, for insisting on a salary-cap based system that has provided cost certainty and competitive balance.
“While we paid a huge, huge price for that, a long-term CBA is only a good thing if you have a system that’s working. And the system is working,” Bettman said. “Working co-operatively with the players’ association enables us to do more things to build on that foundation.”
Yeah, two lockouts, a season-and-a-half gone and the early retirements of the Messiers, Yzermans and Lidstroms...Anyway, the dual interview continues...
from Alexandra Wolfe of the Wall Street Journal,
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t grow up ice skating. He only learned in college, when his girlfriend at the time (now his wife) helped teach him. These days, Mr. Bettman doesn’t skate much, but he does watch his grandson play.
The longest serving commissioner in any major league sport today, the 62-year-old Mr. Bettman is looking for new ways to attract fans. At the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, he plans to announce the slate of outdoor NHL games for next season (most games are played in covered arenas), as well as the return of the World Cup, an international hockey event that he says “will be back in a major way” next year. A successor to the Canada Cup, which was held occasionally between 1976 and 1991, the World Cup has only been played twice, in 1996 and 2004.
Hockey’s popularity has been on the rise. Total attendance at pro games has grown to 23.5 million last season from 15.5 million in 1993, when Mr. Bettman took over. Over the same period, the NHL’s revenue has grown to nearly $4 billion from $400 million a year. (By comparison, professional football and baseball each had revenue last year of about $9 billion, while basketball took in about $5.5 billion.) In recent decades, the NHL has gone to great lengths to broaden the sport’s national footprint, expanding into new markets and relocating teams to places where ice hockey wasn’t traditionally played, such as Dallas.
from mbrodsky at of St. Louis JewishLight,
In the late 1960s, Gary Bettman would finish classes at his Queens high school, take the subway to Madison Square Garden and whip out his student ID card to land a ticket for 50 cents to a New York Rangers game. He’d sit in the arena doing his homework until the game began and he could cheer on favorite players like Rod Gilbert and Eddie Giacomin.
Though the Rangers were a storied hockey club, Bettman was drawn to the newer franchises.
Growing up in a single-parent home, “I didn’t have the passing on of [fandom from] generation to generation that a lot of kids did, so I would tend to gravitate toward expansion teams so I would have instant history,” Bettman, the National Hockey League’s commissioner, told JTA in a telephone interview from his Manhattan office.
“At the time, I didn’t realize what I was doing. As I reflect back on it, it makes sense.”
On Feb. 1, Bettman will mark his 22nd year as NHL commissioner, his longevity trailing that of only five others — including ex-NBA chief David Stern — in the annals of America’s four top sports leagues. Stern had hired Bettman at the National Basketball Association more than a decade before Bettman took the reins of the hockey league.
On Thursday, Bettman, 62, was recognized by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America with the Louis Marshall Award — the first time the New York institution has bestowed the honor for “exemplary ethics and communal commitment” on a sports figure.
"The fact of the matter is, over the last two decades, the league, the game, the presence and prominence from our clubs has grown on every measurable platform, whether or not it's TV viewing, attendance, social media or revenues. The game, our franchises have never been healthier, have never been stronger and have never been more widely followed."
-Gary Bettman. The commissioner joined Chicago radio today and Nina Falcone of CSNChicago has more.
The New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein wrote an exhaustively comprehensive article regarding the decline of the Canadian dollar as it applies to the NHL's salary cap, the health of Canadian and small-market American franchises, the Forbes valuations of NHL teams, possible expansion and/or relocation and the long-term health of the league in wide historical context, factoring in the NHL's TV deal with Rogers, the percentage of revenues coming in from Canada and the league's growth in American revenues by staging Winter Classics and Stadium Series games. It's a helluva article.
The most intriguing part comes from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who suggests that the 88-cent Loonie should not negatively impact the salary cap for the 2015-16 season:
“I expect there to be a healthy rise in the salary cap for next season,” Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner, said last week. “The Canadian dollar would have to continue to fall in a material way for that to change.”
For the N.H.L., a strong Canadian dollar means strong business growth. But with the Canadian dollar skidding, speculation is rife that the league’s bottom line may suffer, triggering a cascade of side effects, including a stagnant salary cap for the 2015-16 season.
The Denver Post's Adrian Dater suggests that it's Gary Bettman who's "made the NHL popular again," citing the league's TV deals with Rogers Sportsnet and NBC Universal, as well as the ridiculous selling price of the New York Islanders, as examples, and he affords the 3-lockout-conducting commissioner the last word:
[T]he biggest thing Bettman did was listen to his players and coaches on how to make the product on the ice better. That began with rule-book changes to make the game more free-flowing when play resumed after the 2004-05 lockout.
"I used to talk to, without mentioning any names, coaches of less well-endowed clubs. And I would go: 'How do you do this? What's your game plan?' And universally, in those days, it was 'Clutch and grab, hook and hold, we had to neutralize the skill differential,' " Bettman said. "And then 'We'd try to steal it in the last 10 minutes.' That was not how this game was meant to be played. It all starts with having the game as good as it can be. But it isn't as simple as passing new rules. It goes to having the best competitive balance in all of pro sports. And it then means reaching out to the fans to give them the best connective experience."
Bettman has become the most senior of commissioners among the major pro sports. He has persevered through some tough times, and in the process has earned more of a grudging respect for the media and the hardcore hockey fan base.
"I'm not an 'I told you so' kind of person," Bettman said. "Although, I actually had a former player in my office today, who lived through 2004 and said to me, 'If I only knew then what I know now.' It's not an 'I told you so,' it's that we had a vision to fix fundamental problems to get the game healthy again so that it could grow."
via CNN YouTube channel,
The NHL Commissioner talks gambling & a possible team in Las Vegas, plus the future of hockey, including at the Olympics.
Prior to the start of Thursday's Los Angeles Kings-San Jose Sharks game, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held his annual start-of-the-year "state of the game" speech and media Q and A session. NHL.com's Dan Rosen provides a transcript thereof:
On how much of the League's success last season comes from having the Stanley Cup champions in the second largest media market in the United States:
"Market size, particularly when you're dealing with major media markets, has an impact in terms of gathering attention. But I got asked that question when I did the media avail before the Stanley Cup Final started and it's frankly more important what's taking place on the ice. You can have the biggest markets in the world, but if the game isn't exciting, compelling and competitive it's not going to generate a lot of interest. The Kings, for example, had a magical, spectacular run in last year's playoffs, and I think that was as important, if not more, than it was taking place with a team based in Los Angeles.
"It's interesting, we talk about competitiveness and competitive balance, and you see it. As the season starts most of the prognostications I'm seeing are all over the place as to who is going to make the playoffs and who is going to win the Cup. Nobody knows, but there aren't a whole lot of teams that are out of the conversation. That's one of the things we think is paramount about our system."
The Q and A continues at extensive length...
The Associated Press asked Gary Bettman about the topic that won't go away--NHL expansion--and Bettman revealed a little more than he usually does about what the league isn't doing:
"If we go through a formal expansion process, then we will have to evaluate that very question," Bettman said Tuesday during an interview with The Associated Press inside his Manhattan office. "What we are doing is continuing to listen to expressions of interest, and we're pleased that there are lots of expressions of interest, but we haven't and are not ready to deal with them in a very structured, formal way and make that decision."
Before any expansion discussions can be held, the NHL will have to decide how many teams is enough, and if adding others will water down the product.
"That would require us to do an analysis we haven't done," Bettman said. "If you look around, there is no list on the wall ranking cities where we're not. We're listening. There is apparently a lot to listen to, but at this point that's all we're doing."
And now that the Coyotes are again firmly entrenched in Arizona, there is no immediate risk of any team moving, either.
"There is no reason to relocate," Bettman said. "The 30 franchises have never been healthier, never been better owned, never been more stable."
The interview continues, and Bettman also appeared on Sportsnet's HockeyCentral At Noon prograram to talk about Sportsnet's new TV deal, the opening of the 2014-1 season, fighting, and yes, troubled franchises:
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at CTVNews,
In his 21-plus years as the first official "commissioner" of the NHL, Bettman has overseen expansion, change and booming business. In the process he has also become a popular target for fans because he has shown a willingness to sacrifice games to affect the kind of change he and the owners want.
"The game was unhealthy, the competitiveness wasn't there," Bettman said of the 2004-05 lockout. "We did what we had to do to not have six, eight or 10 years of a mess. We go through these things not because we want to but because we have to get to a point where the game can be healthy."
Now that it's healthy, Bettman doesn't look like an executive on the way out. When Bud Selig steps down and Rob Manfred takes over Major League Baseball, Bettman will officially be the longest-tenured commissioner in North American professional sports -- though he insists because Selig previously had an interim tag that he already is.
"I will be the oldest when he steps down," said Bettman, who says he hasn't considered any kind of a succession plan. "I'm still trying to figure out how I got to be 62 years old."
Gary Bettman and George Strompolos were at the Canadian Club of Toronto today and discussed numerous topics including expansion.
You can watch more videos on different topics today at Sportsnet's YouTube page.
From NHL.com's Arpon Basu:
The NHL is close to hiring a new head of the Department of Player Safety, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.
The NHL has been without a permanent lead disciplinarian since Brendan Shanahan left the League on April 11 to become president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stephane Quintal, who worked under Shanahan since November 2011, took over as head of player safety on an interim basis through the end of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We're getting to the short strokes of that process," Commissioner Bettman said, speaking at a media event outside Montreal. "We've interviewed a lot of candidates, including somebody that's been doing it on an interim basis, and we will be making a decision shortly. We wanted to finish the process; [NHL deputy commissioner] Bill Daly and I each managed to take a little time off in August, but certainly well in advance of the start of the season we'll have an announcement."
Bettman also tells Basu that he's working with the NHLPA to reestablish "more international play," i.e. a revival of the "World Cup of Hockey":
Gary Bettman accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of ALS Awareness...
Would-be Islanders suitor Charles Barroway is suing current Islanders owner Charles Wang for $10 million after Wang reneged on the sale of the soon-to-be-Brooklyn-based team, and the New York Times' Richard Sandomir went so far as to pen an editorial-style article suggesting that Wang's--well, let's be honest here--awful stewardship of the team merits all but a moral imperative to sell the team to someone who can competently manage it.
This morning, the New York Post's Josh Kosman reports that Barroway's lawsuit involves someone with an intriguing tie to a certain sport's commissioner, and that commissioner now finds himself in a sticky situation:
An adviser working for the hedge-fund manager who sued the New York Islanders for reneging on a deal to sell him the team is NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s half-brother, The Post has learned.
Andrew Barroway hired Jeffrey Pollack several months ago after reaching a handshake deal to buy the club from owner Charles Wang for $420 million, sources said.
Wang and Bettman are believed to be pals.
And in addition to reporting that Barroway had difficulty actually coughing up the cash to purchase the team, Kosman reports that Wang increased the asking price for the team substantially (and many suspect that Wang did so after the Los Angeles Clippers sold for a billion dollars):
According to the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts, Rogers Communications is worrying that it overpaid for its Canadian TV-and-internet rights package, but the NHL discovered that the first payment from Rogers and strong performances by the outdoor games held this past season yielded an extra $150 million in revenue for the league:
Thanks to another run of prosperity after the NHL settled its labour problems 18 months ago, [NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman was able to tell the owners there will be a little extra in their piggy banks for the coming season. Each of the 30 teams will get an unexpected $5-million (all currency U.S.) thanks to the success of the league’s Stadium Series and the first payment by Rogers Communications Inc., on its $5.2-billion, 12-year broadcast deal. That is a total of $150-million in cheques mailed out this summer.
The Stadium Series was the four outdoor games played last season in addition to the existing Winter Classic and Heritage Classic. They were added for a revenue boost following the 2012-13 lockout and paid off nicely for the NHL despite fears the league was flirting with killing the golden goose.
Shoalts continues and explains how these revenues will effect the NHLPA going forward (as you already know, the NHLPA chose to accept a $69 million salary cap instead of pushing for a $70-71 million cap to minimize escrow withholdings after surrendering significant portions of their paychecks to the league during the 2013 and 13-14 seasons):
USA Today's Kevin Allen and Erik Brady penned a fascinating article about the ways in which the role of a professional sports commissioner has changed during the tenure of outgoing MLB commissioner Bug Selig, sourcing comments from Selig, his predecessor, Fay Vincent, preeminent sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, former MLBPA executive director and current NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and a certain Mark Cuban (NFL commissioner Roger Goodell chose to decline an interview).
The article both traces Selig's path and sets a greater historical context for the role of a sports commissioner and how it's evolved since Selig took the job in 1992...
"If you go back, (sports) talk radio was in its infancy, there was no Internet, no mobile, less television coverage, no out-of-market packages to speak of, there was no social media and digital platforms," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told USA TODAY Sports. "That's a longwinded way of saying there is more to do. … To be a commissioner you always had to multi-task. But there are now multiple tasks, compared to what there were."
And aside from spending a significant amount of text pointing out that it's not the commissioner who is "in charge" per se--it's the owners who any and every sports commissioner represents, and the owners' interests that he proffers--Bettman, who took the reins from John Ziegler, very specificially tells Allen and Brady about the evolution of the commissioner's position: