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Remarks from Bettman

EXCERPTS FROM COMMISSIONER BETTMAN REMARKS NEW YORK (July 22, 2005) - Following are excerpts of remarks by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman following today's Board of Governors meeting: "Today, our Board of Governors gave its unanimous approval to a Collective Bargaining Agreement that signals a new era for our League -- an era of economic stability for our franchises, an era of heightened competitive balance for our players, an era of unparalleled excitement and entertainment for our fans." * * * * "Our foundation for the future now is in place. It is the mandate of this new partnership, achieved at enormous cost, to reconnect with our fans and refocus the spotlight where it belongs: on the ice, on the beauty and the skill of our remarkable game and on the world's best professional athletes." * * * * "We will return with a modified shield, with a new 'look' on the ice and a new outlook off it, and we will return this game to our fans with a promise: We will do everything in our power to be the best we can be and to earn your continued devotion. This was a terrible time for everyone associated with the game. We will do everything we can to make it up to you." * * * * "The greatness of hockey, and the NHL, is best measured by the character and commitment of our players. The greatness of our game is best reflected by the character and commitment of our fans. We appreciate the patience and the support they have shown through this difficult time. It's time our fans had some fun again, and our objective is to give them all they can handle."

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Official Rule Changes

The National Hockey League's Board of Governors today approved a series of rule changes that will emphasize entertainment, skill and competition on the ice. Commissioner Gary Bettman, who presented the package to the Board, also formally announced the creation of a new Competition Committee which was responsible for formulating and recommending the proposed slate of rules changes for approval by the NHL Board of Governors.

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A Letter to the Fans

July 22, 2005 Dear Friend of Hockey, This is a letter I had hoped to be able to send you several months ago. I am certain it is one you had hoped to be able to read long before today, and I will never be able to express adequately my appreciation -- along with that of the entire National Hockey League -- for the patience you have shown through the most difficult period in our history. While it may be said that the greatness of hockey, and the NHL, is best measured by the character and tenaciousness of its players, I would add that the greatness of our game is also reflected by the character and tenaciousness of you, our devoted fans. I thank you all for that passionate support and I apologize to all of you, on behalf of everyone involved, for testing that support as severely as we did. The negotiation of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was an extremely complex undertaking and it took a painfully long time to complete. I promise you it did not take one second longer than absolutely necessary; and while it required a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice by a lot of people -- including you -- the result is that a great game will be even better upon our return. As we move forward now in partnership with our players, we move equally, to a new era of exceptional entertainment, in partnership with you. We will come back with new rules, with a new spirit of cooperation and with a renewed sense of excitement as the best athletes in the world display their skills for the best fans in the world and strive to win the best trophy in the world, the Stanley Cup. Over the past year, there has been entirely too much talk about the business of hockey and entirely too little talk about the joys of hockey. At last, it's time, once again, to have fun -- the kind of fun only hockey can offer. I cannot wait to get back to the rink and I very much look forward to seeing you there. Let's get ready to drop the puck! Sincerely, Gary Bettman

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Detroit Area Fans

NHL Press Conference is on FSN-Detroit.

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Like We Didn’t Know

from CP,

The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the new labour deal Friday, paving the way for the league to reopen for business. A source said the vote was 30-0. Commissioner Gary Bettman was to officially announce the results of the vote at a 3 p.m. ET news conference. That was to be followed by the league's draft lottery, with junior star Sidney Crosby the big prize.

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TSN Coverage begins at 2pm

According to the TSN website, their cybercast of the NHL "coming out party" will begin at 2pm.

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Cost of Lockout: 2 million fans

As the National Hockey League ratifies its new collective bargaining agreement, a recent research study finds that the lockout cost the sport nearly 2 million fans in Canada. In a survey conducted by Solutions Research Group among 1,776 Canadians in May/June 2005, 55% of Canadian sports fans aged 12 or older identified hockey as one of their favourite sports, down 13 points from 68% in a survey conducted in 2003.

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Florida Hockey Fans

FOX Sports Net Florida will be televising Commissioner Bettman's press conference LIVE today at approximately 3pm.

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A New Beginning for the NHL

via the CP,

National Hockey League owners are expected to follow the lead set by the players on Thursday, ratifying the new collective bargaining agreement and officially ending the over 300 day lockout. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman all but confirmed the expected rubber stamp yesterday, appearing at a news conference with NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow after the players overwhelmingly accepted the deal. Bettman called the agreement "wonderful" for all concerned, adding it was "the type of agreement that we think a professional sports league like ours can thrive under for everyone's benefit because we are true economic partners, true partners in the game, sharing fairly. And that's always been our goal and objective." Goodenow was more muted, saying time will tell. But he was able to find some positives, saying the complicated deal had "player-friendly aspects." The deal will see NHL hockey return this fall under a drastically new financial landscape which includes hard salary cap of around $39 million per team with teams required to spend at least $21.5 million on player salaries. Players will receive 54 percent of league revenues, which are projected to be about $1.7 billion for the 2005-06 season. The owners are also expected to unveil a "new look" NHL, which includes everything from rule changes aimed at opening up the game and increasing scoring to a redesigned NHL logo. NHL director of operations Colin Campbell met with the newly created competition committee on Tuesday to finalize a list of recommendations for owners to vote on Friday. When it comes to the game on the ice it's expected the red line will be eliminated, the width of the blue lines will be increased, no-touch icing, goaltender pads will be downsized and goalies will be limited in where they can play the puck. There is also expected to be another crackdown on obstruction and shootouts will be introduced to decide ties.

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Is This It

I remember a few months ago we were discussing the new NHL Logo. A reader of the old blog responded with some very precise details. Just wondering if this could be the new logo? update 10:55am, Well, it is now at nhl.com, so I guess this is it.

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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