Guest Gary Bettman

The beginning of the 2013-14 NHL season is upon us. Only a year ago, all the talk was about labour relations: salary caps, decertification and the dreaded lockout. This year will be about hockey and only hockey. At least that’s what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman hopes. It hasn’t always happened that way. In addition to union-management strife (there have been three work stoppages during his tenure, including the disastrous cancellation of the 2005 Stanley Cup playoffs) there have been experiments that failed miserably – the glowing puck and the Atlanta Thrashers immediately come to mind. But NHL owners (his bosses) aren’t complaining. TV ratings, attendance and revenues are all well up since his first day on the job in 1993 and, according to Forbes magazine, the 30 teams in the NHL are now worth $8.6 billion. The picture isn’t entirely rosy. Concussions remain a serious problem. And while the Olympics are a celebration of the very best hockey has to offer, there’s a possibility that Sochi will be the last time the NHL participates in the games.

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