No other man in the world of hockey has been booed as much as Gary Bettman. Over the years, hockey fans - especially Canadian hockey fans - have made it their business to give Gary a hard time. But hey, in our defense, we only do it because we care.
But it makes you wonder: does Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League, the head honcho of our national game, ever have days where he wishes he'd stayed with basketball?
Back in the '80s, Gary was an executive with the NBA. He eventually became Senior Vice President at a time when the NBA was thriving. So when Gary took the over the reins of the NHL in 1993, he had a mandate from the owners to grow the game. In some respects, he's done very well: Under Gary's watch, NHL revenues have grown from $400 million in 1993, to $2.9 billion last year.
But over his 18 years in the hot seat, has Gary racked up more wins, or losses? He's presided over two lockouts, ownership struggles in Atlanta and bankruptcy in Phoenix. This season specifically, Gary has to deal with some tough questions: What do you do about head shots? And how do you deal with the truly ugly side of the game? Plus, Winnipeg just celebrated the return of their beloved Jets, and Canadians want to know if we'll be getting another NHL team. It's possible, but not without the approval of Mr. Bettman.