He has been the face of the NHL since February 1993. He is just two about three months from holding that position for 20 years. With federal mediation ending for Lockout 2012 with no benefiting factors – Bettman himself stated that maybe a deal can be done if himself and NHLPA boss Donald Fehr are taken out of the equation.
For math buffs out there – this is how a new CBA should be resolved in the NHL
NHLPA + NHL = CBA
It is gotten to the point now where it has become (Gary Bettman + NHL) + (Donald Fehr + NHLPA) = Lockout.
Gary Bettman is not a problem for the NHL. When the Bettman took the reins of the NHL – there were only 24 teams. He has expanded that pool to 30 teams and created parity in a league once controlled by dynasty’s.
There has only been on occasion that the same team has met Bettman at center ice in June more than once in a row, the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. Every other year under his watch the Stanley Cup has changed hands with each passing season.
How successful has the league been under his watch? His salary prior to the last lockout was under 4 million dollars – it has doubled under the last agreement.
With the old guard of owners urging Bettman to continue the lockout to get a deal that benefits the owners (and by extension himself) – his future with the league is probably safe, as it is the Board of Governors who “elects” the commissioner.
Should the NHL consider a new head man to lead them into the future? In Bettman’s 20 years as the commish – the NHL has stopped playing three times to fetter out a labor agreement. He has instituted a salary cap – which is his mantra, prior to coming to the NHL, he rose to 3rd in command in the NBA and was instrumental in creating a soft salary cap for that league, a system still used today.
His counterpart in the NHLPA has changed over four times under his watch.
It is not unheard of for the commissioner of a sports league to have almost a papal like tenure. David Stern has been in charge of the NBA since 1984. Roger Goodell has only been in charge of the NFL since 2006, his predecessor however reigned from 1989 until 2006. Bud Selig has been in charge of baseball since since 1992.
The difference between Bettman and the other commissioners – the strengths of the other leagues.
It might be time for Mr. Bettman to see things from the retired side of life - and let someone else usher in the new era of hockey and repair the damage done by Lockout 2012, 2004, and 1994.