Garry Bettman decided recently that the NHL will not allow it’s players to play in the Olympics. Wrong. Gary Bettman just delivered the news his employers told him to give.
He is public enemy number one. At least to the entire NHL/hockey world he is. Maybe I care too much or maybe NHL fans overlook the fact that the NHL is run like a business, a huge not to be messed with business.
However, Mr.Bettman…I get you, sir. I hear you and feel for you. It’s not easy being “that guy”.
People often forget that the NHL is not run by Bettman, but it’s run by the world we live in. It’s powered by enterprise powerhouses like Bell Media, Air Canada, Pepsi Inc, AT&T and soon to be Little Caesars. (R.I.P Joe Louis Arena).
So nothing frustrates me more than when people – that means anyone that watches TSN or Sportsnet – shit all over this man for simply doing his job. He consults with all the owners of our beloved teams and delivers the message that’s the consensus in the room.
Here is the situation. The NHL has ”officially” closed the door on participating in the 2018 Olympic winter Games in South Korea. It’s obviously very disappointing for hockey fans of any generation.
Especially millennial fans like myself. As long as we can remember, so 1998; NHLers have been in the Olympics. Anything else seems so unnatural.
At first glance, this decision seems downright ridiculous, but take a deep dive into the fascinating minds of the owners and big wigs of the NHL world and you’ll begin to understand. Each organization is operated by its owners which own the rights and souls of its players, so its core assets, the ”money makers”.
The IIHF and the IOC make billions of dollars on advertising, television rights and Gate costs.
Therefore when negotiations with the NHL begins one would imagine that it would be a no-brainer to be fairly compensated for its assets to leave in the middle of the season. Then they turn around give pretty much diddly squat to the NHL.
From a BIG BUSINESS standpoint, it makes no sense. The NHL is the only professional sports league that breaks mid-season to go to the Olympics.
In an interview with Toronto’s FAN590, Bettman said a summer tournament would make sense. “If the IOC would move the Olympic hockey tournament to the summer, that would be great,” he said. “We’d be thrilled to have our players participate because then it doesn’t affect our season.”
Is this the worst idea? Maybe…but the point I’m arguing against here is that Bettman seems to be making all the decisions. Which is wrong, he’s simply the messenger. Don’t kill the messenger for following greedy owners instruction.
If, as a fan base of the Hockey and the NHL we seem angry, well, it’s because we are! Although we shouldn’t be taking out all our frustrations on one man doing his incredibly difficult Job. It’s not easy being “Public Enemy #1”.
Keep your head up Gary. Retirement is around the corner.
Sincerely seemingly your only friend,