Gary Bettman: Saint or Sinner?

Jay Nicols@boonta420Correspondent IMay 19, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 04:  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presents the Stanley Cup to Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in game six of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Mellon Arena on June 4, 2008 in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania. The Red Wings defeated the Penguins 3-2 to win the Stanley Cup Finals 4 games to 2.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Gary Bettman, the annoying, goofy guy, who runs the National Hockey League is blind if his vision of the NHL is the product we have.  He has seemingly put Hockey on the back burner in millions of homes across the nation.

Fans of Bettman will give him credit for taking the NHL to new heights since he became the first and only Commissioner in 1993.  Critics can say he has done nothing more than make the league non-existent in the realm of Sports.

He has seen the league through two lockouts, an awful expansion, that led to depleted teams.  With two teams in Florida, one in Arizona, one in Tennessee, one in Georgia, and only six teams left in Canada, his way seems to be the wrong way.  

It's safe to say that Bettman was hired to move hockey to the United States of America.

He moved Quebec to Colorado, Winnipeg to Phoenix, the North Stars to Dallas, and now he is trying to keep Phoenix in Phoenix, please, why are you wasting your time with saving Phoenix?  

If someone is interested in buying a league franchise that is losing money faster than the banks, go ahead and let them do so without opening your mouth on refusal to move a team.  You started this mess, now fix it by letting the desert lose its only ice rink.  

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Unless its an Original Six team, whats wrong with moving a hockey team back to Winnipeg, or to Hamilton, or Ontario?  Mr. Bettman, why are you trying to make hockey an American Sport in American cities that can't produce ice unless its water inside a freezer?

Mr. Bettman, hockey is a worldwide sport, played on ponds and in rinks across the globe.  Please let Canada, a major supplier of talent and coaches, play a larger role in the NHL game.

Lets look at it in terms of revenue:

An NHL team in Phoenix is losing money, has a small fan base, and is in bankruptcy.  That doesn't look good on the books, does it? So an investor decides to put a bid in to buy the team.  Bettman is not happy with the pre-conditions of the deal, moving it from Phoenix to Canada of all places. 

Lets meet the Investor.  

Jim Balsillie is co-CEO of RIM, Research in Motion.  He also would love to move a hockey team to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  I'm not too familiar with Hamilton, but I can bet it's safe to say that they love hockey more than the people in Phoenix.  I bet so much so that they could sell out every home game with more home fans than away fans before they play their first game.

Mr. Balsillie first tried to get the Pittsburgh Penguins, than the Nashville Predators, and now the Phoenix Coyotes.  Somehow, Mr. Bettman was able to save his expansion teams from exile.  

Why? They don't produce revenue, so let others move them to profitable areas.

Imagine the Hamilton Coyotes, playing in the Blackberry Arena, with blackberry ice cream ( OK, I know, too much), and an atmosphere like that of Calgary's Saddledome; Raucous, loud, and knowledgeable hockey fans.  

That is something Phoenix, let alone Florida, Georgia, or Tennessee will never have. You had to teach the people of Nashville hockey, that should've been the first sign that hockey doesn't belong in Tennessee.

Let us all imagine an NHL world, where Canada and the United States can play hockey in arenas that are packed with passionate hockey fans.  Where hockey fans from all over North America, can watch a game without having to call their cable or satellite provider to see if they get Versus.  

The NHL is a decent product.  It can be a great product if it didn't have Gary Bettman ruining it.  I meant, running it.   


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