Tomorrow is February 1, 2008. It’s sure to be one of the worst days in the history of the National Hockey League.
What did we do to deserve this? Is it, perhaps, the trade-off for bearing witness to the greatness of the Great One? Whether or not that is the case, how much longer must it continue?
In case you’re a hockey newbie or just crawled out from under Fraggle Rock thanks to the help of the Electric Company, these lamentations mean it’s been 15 years since Gary Bettman became the NHL Commissioner.
(You have no idea how painful that is to type! Gary Bettman. Fifteen years. NHL Commissioner. No end in sight. I see it and I still cannot make sense of it.)
Here’s a short list of what has been flagrantly stolen from hockey fans under the Bettman Reign:
a.) NHL teams in Hartford, Quebec City, and Winnipeg;
b.) Conference and division names that embody the personality and history of hockey;
c.) Goalies playing as if they were the sixth man on the ice;
d.) The ability to watch an NHL game in the U.S. on the country’s major sports channel throughout the week; and,
e.) The very reputation of the sport, due to two lock-outs in a single decade.
In light of what some fans see as felonious mismanagement by Commissioner Bettman of the job he was selected to do, I ask the hockey faithful to consider an increase of complaints on this sad anniversary. Bring an end to the madness and restore the coolest sport on the planet!
Therefore, I move that:
1.) The placement of any new expansion teams or teams being relocated from poor-attendance markets in the U.S.A. must first be considered for (a) cities which lost their teams during the Bettman Years and/or (b) other Canadian sites.
At least two of the teams which suffered this dire fate were in the midst of a recession in Canada. It was not so much that there weren’t enough fans, but rather a lack of funds. Currently, on any given day, the Canadian dollar is equal or slightly better than the U.S. one.
2.) The names Adams, Campbell, Norris, Patrick, Smythe and Prince of Wales shall be re-instated. Additional names for the two new divisions created through expansion may be taken from other historically-appropriate hockey figures or trophies;
3.) The goalie trapezoid shall be removed from the ice;
4.) Because the score for many games in the 2007-08 season have more closely resembled baseball scores than traditional ones for hockey, all discussion of enlarging the goal shall cease and a moratorium lasting to infinity shall take effect;
5.) The recently renewed broadcast agreement with Versus shall be reviewed and inquires shall be made with ESPN/ABC. If a deal can be reached with ESPN, the contract with Versus shall be shortened or bought out so that the sport can reach more viewers in the U.S.;
6.) Because leadership can lose relevancy and/or efficacy after too much time in office, an individual may hold the post of National Hockey League Commissioner for a ten (10) year period, commencing with his/her first day serving the appointment as said Commissioner.
He/she may hold a subsequent five (5) year extension term as Commissioner provided no lock-out or game stoppages related to contract disputes occurred during his/her tenure; and
7.) Future National Hockey League Commissioners should have a working knowledge of the game and fan culture prior to being nominated for the post.