After a long lockout, the second one in less than 10 years, it seems things are finally coming together for the NHL.
Gary Bettman wasn’t his usual self on this day and maybe that was a good thing.
The long-standing NHL Commissioner appeared before the press today to personally apologize for the work-stoppage that the NHL had to once again endure.
“To the players who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating labour contracts, to our partners who support the league financially and personally, and most importantly to our fans, who love and have missed NHL hockey, I’m sorry,” said Bettman. “I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months but I owe you an apology nevertheless.”
Bettman then talked about how difficult the decisions of an NHL Commissioner can be.
“As commissioner of the National Hockey League, it sometimes falls upon me to make tough decisions that disappoint and occasionally anger players and fans,” he said. “This was a long and extremely difficult negotiation — one that took a lot longer than anybody wanted. I know it caused frustration, disappointment and even suffering to a lot of people who have supported the National Hockey League in many different ways.”
While many may not appreciate the way the Commissioner has handled things, he took it upon himself to remind everyone that a long-term CBA is extremely beneficial to the league even with the short term damage the lockout has caused.
“In the end, neither side got everything it wanted and everyone lost in the short term,” said Bettman. “But the NHL gained a long-term agreement that’s good for players and good for teams, and should guarantee the future success of NHL hockey for many years to come. It will help the game to grow, ensuring greater economic stability for all of our teams.”
With so many people calling for Bettman’s resignation, the long time NHL Commissioner addressed his own future.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to grow this game both on and off the ice as we have over the last 20 years,” he said. “I think the opportunities are great and I’m excited to be a part of them.”
The NHL Board of Governors passed ratified the new CBA with a unanimous 30-0 vote. The NHLPA will hold their vote electronically on Friday and the voting will close on Saturday for the near 740 players.
NHL Training Camps are due to open on Sunday and the 2013 NHL season is expected to start January 19th pending NHLPA ratification.