Entries with the tag: gary bettman
Uh oh. The NHLPA’s looking at the one place I don’t think any of us want them to. From The Hockey News:
Donald Fehr, who plans to retire in March 2010 as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, will serve as an advisor on both the search for a new executive director to replace Paul Kelly and to help draft a new constitution for the NHLPA.
If you don’t know who Donald Fehr is, this sentence from Wikipedia is all you really need to hear:
Fehr led the players union through the 1994 Major League Baseball strike and subsequent World Series cancellation.
The sound you just heard was Gary Bettman rushing to the executive bathroom.
The NHL Fans’ Association (NHLFA) is a one-of-a-kind organization that tries to position itself as the voice of the NHL fan in terms of negotiations and direction of the league. With 30,000+ members, they’ve got a reasonably sized constituency, though one could argue that that’s a fraction of a percentage of the entire NHL fan base (some 21 million tickets were distributed last season and some 8 million watched Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final just in the US). One of the NHLFA’s goals for this season is to fire Gary Bettman. A lofty goal, considering that the only people that can fire Bettman are the 30 members of the Board of Governors, and they just gave him a contract extension not too long ago.
To try get their point across, the NHLFA is taking suggestions from its members for creative ways to start a Fire Bettman rally. While this will surely create some amusing fantasies probably worthy of a Will Ferrell movie, I’m guessing the NHLFA wants something that will realistically get noticed and carry some weight.
However, it’s times like this I try to remind folks that Bettman isn’t in charge of the NHL—the Board of Governors is. Bettman’s a first mate, assigned with certain operational and logistical duties, along with general counsel and negotiation, but he’s no evil emperor pulling the puppetmaster strings of all things hockey. For a refresher on what Bettman’s job description entails, check out this post from a few months back.
What could create change in the league’s culture? It’s change at the top—the ownership groups.
For longtime readers of my hockey writing, you know that I’ve constantly tried to illustrate the point of what Gary Bettman does and what the Board of Governors does. This whole Phoenix situation is putting a bigger spotlight than usual, so it’s important to note that while people will put up websites like FireBettman.com, the actual act of jettisoning Bettman probably wouldn’t have the effect they wanted.
What are Gary Bettman’s actual responsibilities (besides hosting the NHL Hour to talk about his favorite bands)? He’s a negotiator, advisor, and facilitator all wrapped up into one.
All this talk about the Phoenix Coyotes and legal documents and lawyer arguments is making my head hurt (though I’m not free of blame as I’ve written about it quite a bit both on posts and comments). I think we all need to take a step back and look at it from a slightly lighter perspective.
Presenting Phoenix Legal, a new dramatic interpretation of the real-life courtroom battle unfolding in front of us starring Patrick Stewart, Bruce Campbell, William Shatner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the dudes from Office Space. It’s kind of like when E! had actors re-enact the Michael Jackson trial in semi-real time, except with movie clips.