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Why Is NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman So Polarizing for Fans?

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Why Is NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman So Polarizing for Fans?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been at the helm through three decades of the league’s ups and downs. While there have been numerous positive changes within the NHL during that period (most notably the rise in team ratings), Bettman has also led the NHL through multiple controversies, from three lockouts to the abuse scandal Chicago Blackhawks sex and league scandal. stance on CTE and concussions.

Fans have often shown their displeasure with Bettman and, like many sports league commissioners, he is regularly booed when he appears publicly, such as presenting the Stanley Cup trophy or at the NHL draft. However, at last year’s draft, Bettman veered into hate, telling the crowd, “You can do better than that.”

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How long has Gary Bettman been NHL commissioner?

Gary Bettman, 71, has been commissioner of the NHL since February 1, 1993, making him the longest-serving commissioner of any North American professional sports league. He is also the league’s first official commissioner; Before the commissioner title was established, the league’s highest-ranking executive position was NHL president, a position five people have held.

Before becoming commissioner, Bettman was senior vice president and general counsel of the NBA, where he worked closely with David Stern, the NBA commissioner for 30 years, from 1984 to 2014.

During Bettman’s first full season in 1993-94, the league had 26 teams. It has since expanded to 33 teams (one of which is inactive) and is preparing to welcome a franchise to Utah.

What is Gary Bettman’s salary?

There have not been any publicly released details regarding his salary since the 2013-14 season.

Did Gary Bettman play in the NHL?

No, Bettman never played in the NHL. However, in 2016, Bettman said sportsnet which, in fact, can skate. Regarding organized sports, sportsnet reported that he was on his high school football team and told a New Jersey local publication He played intramural hockey in college. He often watched the Cornell Big Red hockey team when he was a student in college.

Why has Bettman been so polarizing?

Under Bettman, league owners have locked out players three times. The first took place in 1994-95, a season after he took over, leading to a shortened 48-game season. The second lockout, and perhaps the most damaging, occurred in 2004-05 when Bettman and the owners canceled the entire season. The last one in 2012-13, which lasted just over three months, cut another season from 82 to 48 games.

Money was the root of every work stoppage. The owners wanted to establish a salary cap, but ultimately failed during the 1994-95 lockout. Before the second lockout, the league took the position was losing millions while player salaries skyrocketed.

The NHL’s stance on CTE and concussions has also raised red flags about Bettman. He said NPR in 2023 that sees no link between playing hockey in the NHL and brain disease, unlike the NFL, which has recognized a link between head trauma and CTE. “I don’t think there’s been any documented study to suggest that elements of our game cause CTE,” Bettman told NPR.

The NHL’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal involving the Chicago Blackhawks in 2021 drew criticism for its slow response in case management. Bettman defended the league’s process and the punishment it imposed: a $2 million fine on Chicago for “inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” to the situation.

“This response should send a clear message to all NHL clubs and all NHL personnel that inappropriate acts must be addressed in a timely manner,” Bettman. saying in a statement from October 2021.

Still, despite the shots fired in his direction, the commissioner does not seem blink.

After three decades of Bettman, what is the current state of the NHL?

The NHL has transformed in multiple facets during Bettman’s time as commissioner.

Expansion has been a major element during Bettman’s time in the league. More recently, the NHL added teams in Las Vegas and Seattle; The Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Final twice and won in 2022-23. The league also re-established a franchise in Winnipeg in 2011, and the Quebec Nordiques moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche, which won Stanley Cups in 1996, 2001 and 2022.

Bettman’s handling of the ordeal at the Arizona Coyotes stadium has been a constant thorn in the side of the league. Even with Bettman’s support, the Coyotes were unable to secure a new stadium. Arizona played at Arizona State University’s 5,000-seat Mullett Arena for two seasons after the city of Glendale terminated its lease with the franchise following the 2021-22 season. This spring, the NHL facilitated the teams move to Utah.

As Bettman’s tenure progressed, NHL team valuations continued to rise. In 2004 (a lockout season), the average NHL team was to worth 163 million dollars, according to Forbes. Almost two decades later, sports reported that the average NHL team was valued at $1.31 billion.

ESPN It returned to the broadcast mix to broadcast NHL games beginning with the 2021-22 seasons as part of a seven-year deal, but the network’s history with the sport is complex. After the 2004-05 lockout season, ESPN declined to exercise its $60 million option to broadcast games, ending its 21-year relationship with the league, according to The New York Times. Comcast-owned OLN, which later became Versus and then NBC Sports Network, paid $65 million for the 2005-06 season. At the time, OLN had 64 million subscribers compared to ESPN’s 90 million.

With ESPN and TNT Sports as broadcast partners, the NHL experienced an eight-year period. ratings high attendance and record heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The league saw an average of 504,000 spectators per game and stadiums operated at 97% capacity.

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