Skip to content

Bettman: “I want my hockey”

Oct 5, 2012, 10:00 PM EDT

Gary Bettman AP

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman answered some big questions in an interview with The Globe Mail’s Roy MacGregor, including sharing his own love for hockey:

“If I’m a fan, I want my hockey. And I am not really sure I care who is right and who is wrong, I just want it fixed,” Bettman said. “I understand that. I respect that. I am a fan. I want my hockey. And it’s something that drives us 24/7 to try and get it right.”

“Getting it right” was a big theme of Bettman’s responses, yet he also provided interesting takes on a number of subjects.

  • When asked if public opinion matters, Bettman said “ultimately it does.”
  • On being the object of public scorn: “It’s part of the job description that you will never hear me complain about.”
  • He responded to a question about the lockouts he’s presided over by saying “I suppose that anybody in my position, knowing what I know, would have done the same things.”
  • Bettman disagrees vehemently with Dan Boyle‘s premise that the owners aren’t as united as they might seem.
  • Aside from his comments about being a fan, Bettman’s thoughts on teams throwing around big, long-term contracts this summer were among his most interesting:

“I know that lots of people look at what they did and scratch their head[s],” Bettman said. “I can understand how they could be complaining about it. Our clubs are fiercely competitive. They will do whatever a system allows. And they will push the limits to the very edge.”

Click here for the full Q & A. It’s well worth a read, even if you’re a full-blown Bettman-basher.

Read more:

Fehr sounds off on NHL for canceling games

Daly calls canceled schedule “extremely disappointing”

Report: NHLPA working on new proposal

Players, owners emphasized compromise in latest meeting

  1. mjasper24 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    That’s funny coming from the guy responsible for 3 lockouts.

    • shootdapuckst - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:49 PM

      “My Hockey”!? coming from a guy who can’t even skate or play. No feeling for the game, can’t feel the passion (Both sides represented by cold ruthless lawyers) Selfish and out of touch with the fan base and could care less. How can you expect anything positive … but WATCH … at least one of them is about to cut his throat… out of Hockey

      • Eberwizzle - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:37 PM

        Do you jump on people when they refer to their favorite team as “we” should have won?

    • tommytd - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      I’m with you on that. Dump this moron…he’s bad for the game.

  2. t16rich - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    It’s our hockey. Your just the businessman who runs the league. You run the league and have never wore a pair of skates. Your hockey, get out of here with that talk.

  3. jimw81 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Bettman is in total denial of everything going on. I think this is sign though he’s getting a message from a owner or BOG member to get this done.

  4. 81redneck - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Like I’m sure ya’ll posting here are a bunch of retired Ex Nhl’ers that played the game for 20 plus years right?

    • hockeyflow33 - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      No but there’s a big difference between hockey and non-hockey people that’s blatantly obvious to anyone who has grown up with the game.

  5. vipod4ever - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    Clarence Campbell got pelted out of the MTL Forum in ’55 for suspending the Rocket. What does Bettman deserve? I agree, but Canada doesn’t have the death penalty.

  6. jason9696 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    This guy could care less about hockey.

  7. loinstache - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    honestly this is a revealing interview that, to me at least, humanizes an individual I typically despise. I don’t believe his comments on Boyle; obviously the owners are split. yet most of the rest seems legit… his jobs entails mediating a functioning league. any continuous period that deviates against such is in conflict with his daily responsibilities. yeah it’s part of the job, but its not like its of any benefit – it’s more work for him with no pay, not really a win

  8. blomfeld - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    YES BETTMAN CARES !

    Even though it’s probably not “apropos” to say it here at this venomous PHT website, I for one will go on the record by saying that I think Gary Bettman cares “very” much for our beloved game of NHL hockey ! His position as commissioner is not an “easy” one to say the least, given the fact that his job is to somehow find a balance between the “greedy” owners and players alike. On the one hand, you have the fat cat owners (individuals and corporations) who are perpetually demanding a higher return on their investment. And then you have the players themselves who are like the children we love, yet once in a while they need to be spanked for their own good. It can’t be easy to say the least. But if anyone’s capable of pulling it off, then I believe that would be none other than Gary Bettman ! :)

    GO BETTMAN !

    GO NHL 2012-2013 !!

    GO “STANLEY CUP CHAMPION” LOS ANGELES KINGS !!!!

  9. proudliberal85392 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    81redneck: I love it! Are you ever right on.

    • hockeyflow33 - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:41 AM

      Oh good, more trolls on here

  10. babar61 - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Well you can’t blame Gary. He just wants to cement his legacy in history, and he has succeeded! No one will forget this man now after being at the helm of three lockouts….perhaps even a fourth lockout in 10 more years? I mean he already has the record.

  11. sharkcity408 - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    Bettman… I hate you

  12. daveydawg - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    Isn’t this 4 lockouts in 20 years? That’s ridiculous.

    • blomfeld - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:53 PM

      Ridiculous ? How about the average NHL salary increasing “10 fold” over the past 20 years ? (ie: from $271 K in 1991 to $2.4 million in 2011) … now that’s “ridiculously” ridiculous ! :)

  13. dlk75150 - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    This guy is a liar and full of it. The NHL should have all Canadians manning the NHL and NHLPA. Then it would be for the love of the game not greed.

  14. phillyphanatic76 - Oct 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    No fan would do this. He’s not doing what’s best for the game, he’s doing what’s best for the people who finance the game. The lockout in 04-05 sucked but it was somewhat of a necessity to revamp a faltering league. This time it’s all about greed. All about making up for the owners miscalculation that a hard salary cap would fix rising costs, rising salaries, and rising ticket prices. And Bettmans solution is to hold the league and its fans hostage til he (and the top owners) get back the money they threw around in complete short sighted fashion. Oh and he refuses to even discuss any type of revenue sharing or soft salary cap, that would work in conjunction with a more fair percentage to pull the small and midmarkets out of

    • phillyphanatic76 - Oct 6, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      Their hole. No fan would do that. They’d have more sense of the sentiment amongst real fans.

  15. sabatimus - Oct 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Translation: I want my cake and eat it too. And it’s a MASSIVE cake I don’t want to share with anyone else.

  16. rebekah319 - Oct 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    To be fair I know what Bettman is not the smarter or brightest person in the world by any means and I do blame him for what has gone down with the rest of the owners. Also you have to realize that he is representing the other owners and saying what they want him to say. You can not tell me that deep down he really does not care about his actions? I know people dislike him myself included but he is not doing this for the fun of doing it. However I am so sick of people talking about who to blame here. Its both sides fault they need to take responsibility for it! They made the damage now fix the damage. Players need to suck it up and stop complaining that they are not playing right now. If they really wanted to play they would have made a deal a long time ago!

  17. gatorjr - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    If both sides were reasonable negotiators they would agree on a “comfortable” salary cap and a 50-50 split of the merchandising revenue along with eliminating long term multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts that make ticket prices outrages.

  18. lostpuppysyndrome - Oct 6, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    The more Bettman interviews I see and read, the more I respect the man. It’s not the popular stance, but Bettman’s got a tough job. I really do believe he’s a hockey fan, and that would just make his position even tougher to be in. You have owners on one side who have their demands, ill-informed players who have theirs, and impatient fans hurling various epithets and pejoratives at everyone involved in the negotiating process (myself included at times) just because you aren’t working fast enough. Yes, he gets $8m/yr to do this, but how many years would you spend doing his job under these same conditions, all the while being vilified by players, fans, and the media? He’s been doing it for 20 years, give or take, and he’s handled it remarkably well and has remained mostly available for comment and questioning.

    Do I like all of his decisions? No. I was a kid when he allowed the Jets to move to Phoenix of all places (still the worst decision he ever made IMO). I know first hand what it feels like when your favorite team leaves, especially to the most undeserving and unnatural location in the US. Overall, has he been a benefit to the league? Absolutely. He’s incredibly intelligent and shrewd, and he hasn’t been around this long without a certain measure of success. I think he wants the game back, and I just hope it happens soon. I’m encouraged by his comments, and I hope both sides find their middle ground and get back on the ice without delay.

    • blomfeld - Oct 7, 2012 at 3:17 AM

      Friend … even though your time-lines present you as being of a “younger” bouquet ? … please know that your comments are indicative of a very “rational, mature and insightful” person. Extremely well stated ! :)

  19. irokkit - Oct 6, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    To 81redneck …..hmmm, while most readers respond towards either the NHL or the players, you for some reason attack the fans/readers? Dick head!!!!
    I have been playing Ice F’n Hockey for 20, no 43 years.
    So what I never made it to the NHL. I still at two sometimes three days a week. I LOVE THIS GAME.
    So shut up!!!
    And take the dweeb with you that supports your post.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. C. Price (1854)
  2. J. Harding (1793)
  3. J. Thornton (1772)
  4. J. Giguere (1557)
  5. A. Semin (1517)
  1. J. Spezza (1514)
  2. C. MacArthur (1499)
  3. M. Staal (1428)
  4. R. Johansen (1127)
  5. S. Crosby (1115)