One of my favorite traditions in Hockey is when everyone boo's NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at every chance they get. Every year thousands of NHL fans audibly voice their displeasure in the long-time NHL commissioner's performance and it's well deserved. Multiple lockouts, poor business decisions, and pure greed under his leadership have stunted the growth of THE most exciting sport in the world (I'm from Minnesota so I might be a little biased). Since we may not get a chance to boo this rat anytime soon, I'd like to remind everyone just why we boo Commissioner Bettman.
Here are 3 reasons why everyone hates Gary Bettman
1. 3 Lockouts in 20 Years
Under Bettman, the NHL has had two lockouts that have canceled large parts of the season ('94-'95 & 12'-13') and one lockout that canceled the ENTIRE NHL season (04'-05'). Bettman became the NHL commissioner in 1993 and wasted no time getting the league shut down in 94'. People don't realize how much this lockout hurt the growth of the NHL. The New York Rangers had just won the cup and the NHL saw popularity sky-rocket in US markets. Playoff games were broadcasted all over ESPN and it felt like the sport was starting to become more popular. How did Bettman capitalize on all of this popularity? He capitalized on it by starting the very next year in a lockout.
Don't even get me started on the 2004 lockout that canceled an entire season. USA Youth hockey took a huge hit due to the cancelation of the entire season and saw a decrease of over 18,000 youth hockey players from 2004-2006. The winter of 2005 was by far the worst winter of my childhood thanks to that RAT Bettman. How does it feel to ruin a year of my childhood Bettman? You greedy bitch.
2. Aggressive and Misguided Expansion to Non-Traditional Hockey Markets
Throughout Bettman's reign, he has been pushing hockey into non-traditional markets. Although some of these moves have been promising and have brought lucrative television deals, several teams from these "non-traditional" hockey markets have struggled financially. The Atlanta Thrashers got shut down and moved to Canada quickly. The Florida Panthers can barley attract 15 fans to their games and the Phoenix Coyotes (now the Arizona Coyotes) filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after incurring several hundred million dollars of losses since their move to Phoenix from Winnipeg. Many fans feel like the failure of these new market teams are a bad look for the NHL, and many feel like the NHL needs to give priority to improving the product instead of forcing it where people aren't interested.
3. Taking NHLers out of the Olympics
This shit grinded my gears. How does removing top-notch talent from the Olympics help grow the game? It fucking doesn't. The NHL just didn't want to risk having their players injured in games where they don't make the majority of the money.
LET THE PLAYERS PLAY IN THE FUCKING OLYMPICS. With all the national pride at stake, there is no better time to grow the game. Let the world see the best players hockey has to offer, who are representing something bigger than themselves, their NHL teams, and the NHL as a whole.
Bettman deserves all the boos he gets, and we as hockey fans must pledge to boo Bettman at any opportunity presented to us. We have a moral obligation to do so. Don't let me down.