Friday, May 8, 2009

Gary Bettman

I have had just about all I can take from Gary Bettman. His refusal to allow for the sale of a franchise to a billionaire who wants to move a team back to Canada is an insult. He is quoted as saying the NHL is in the business of fixing problems, not relocating teams. Oh really? Since he became Commish in 93, four teams (two of them Canadian) have been moved south. He has expanded from 24 to 30 teams, and half of those to markets where people don't like hockey. The theory that you can move hockey franchises to markets without any significant hockey fan base and people will suddenly fall in love with the game has proven flawed. The “if you move there, they will come” strategy is defective. The Jets would have been better off to stay in Winnipeg as Phoenix hasn't worked. But as Bettman helped facilitate the theft of that Canadian franchise, to give up on the market he sold them to would be like admitting a mistake, and the ego of this madman is nauseating to true hockey fans.

I would strongly urge the Canadian Government to at least try to do something to challenge the NHL on its refusal to allow a second team in Ontario. Even if legally there is little that can be done, it would be to the benefit of the Prime Minister’s sagging poll numbers to at least feign a legislative offensive on an anti-trust basis. It might not be legally binding, and it would likely not be able to force the franchise to move to Canada; but who are we kidding? The NHL is in the business of entertainment. In entertainment, as in politics, perception is everything! And at this exact moment in time, while the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes is awaiting a hearing in an American Court, while public support for another Canadian franchise is very high, while the governing party has been sliding in the polls, it is easy to see that there are a lot of good reasons that the Canadian Government should at least try to do something. They don't call politicians "lawmakers" for nothing.


  1. While I want another Canadian team I don't want another in southern Ontario, there are too many teams in that area, Canadian and American.
    Travel is my issue, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, New york(both) and Buffalo can all take a very short flight or drive to many games while western teams, Canadian and American spend huge hrs flying from game to game, Vancouver in particular has always had the hardest travel schedule of any team in the NHL, Put the team in Winnipeg.

  2. I'm surprised you're suggesting Federal Government intervention in a private sector and legal dispute.

  3. I know that there is nothing that they can do that is legally binding, but they can at least attempt to bust the Maple Leaf Monopoly in Southern Ontario. They can't force the NHL to move a franchise, but they can at least pass legislation making it illegal to block a team transfer to the region. Adam Smith in all his glory was against monopolies.