I first met Gary Bettman when I was 13 years old. I was a young junior golfer and I met him at the driving range of my country club. I didn’t really know him as the guy who was probably the worst commissioner in sports at the time, I just knew him as the commissioner of the NHL.
He sort of admired my golf swing and we chatted for a bit. I told him about my love for the Rangers and we conversed. He was a nice guy.
I’ve seen him at the country club a few more times over the years sometimes saying hi, sometimes not. Two summers ago I went out my way when I saw him and thanked him for bringing back the Winnipeg Jets. He just said it was a good choice, and made sense for the league. Well no kidding. That was the last conversation I had with him.
I’m not going to say I know him on a personal level because I don’t. I just thought that personal anecdote was a good throw in for this article. Hope you enjoyed it.
Anyway, today I pose this question: Will Gary Bettman ever be fired?
Here’s the answer I came up with logically. If he isn’t fired after this debacle of a lockout is over, he’ll never be fired. He’s the commish for life. It would be smart on the NHL to fire him for obvious reasons (logically and for PR purposes) but I think it’s just too much work.
Firstly he’s done a good job pleasing everyone. The man has sided with guys like Jeremy Jacobs who’s keeping him in power. Then he’s also shoved guys like James Dolan aside and has given people like him very little say in things. There’s been enough league growth that guys like Dolan can’t completely come out on Bettman.
Secondly who is the NHL supposed to replace Bettman with? Commissioners of sports leagues, or guys qualified to have that position don’t exactly grow on trees. It would be very hard for the league to replace Bettman, and I don’t think they’d want to put in the effort to do it anyway.
There have been three work stoppages under Gary Bettman, one of which lost an entire season. How many is too many? I’d say one is plenty but hey some owners love these lockouts because they end up with more money in their pockets.
If Gary Bettman isn’t fired after all is set and done, he’ll never be.
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