Bettman called worst commissioner in sports

at Times Square on April 11, 2012 in New York City.

Like many hockey fans, Bloomberg’s Jonathan Mahler doesn’t think much about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. In fact, Mahler wrote a column in which he calls Bettman the worst commissioner in sports.

Wrote Mahler: “In case you missed the latest news – the National Hockey League has a hard enough time getting people to pay attention when games are actually being played – commissioner Gary Bettman went nuclear last week, filing a lawsuit against his own players.”

Mahler adds: “Instead of viewing his job as the custodian of a sport with a long and proud tradition – the Stanley Cup has been around since the 19th century – and a deeply devoted fan base, Bettman is acting like the chief executive of a restaurant chain who can’t stop looking for new markets to exploit, regardless of whether there’s demand for his product. This hasn’t worked for the NHL any better than it worked for Krispy Kreme.”

You can read his entire column by clicking here.

The Canadian Press reported on Friday that the NHL players moved a step closer to dissolving their union, announcing a vote of the NHLPA membership has given its executive board the power to file a “disclaimer of interest” until Jan. 2. A union spokesman declined to comment on the “internal PA matter.” Read more by clicking here.

The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek writes that despite the lockout and the possibility of another lost season, the Canadian appetite for the NHL is likely to endure. You can read his column by clicking here.

Meanwhile, one frustrated Tampa Bay Lightning fan sent a message to the team by cancelling his season tickets and treating himself to a new set of golf clubs with the money he got back. Read more by clicking here.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


  1. RetroMikey says:

    If Bettman is called the worst commisioner in sports, then the NHLPA putz Donald Fehr and his players must rank up their as well.

    Yeah, I’d like to see the players break the Union and jump to the other side

    . I’ve said it all along here on this site, the unions in today’s world is a thing of the past, and it does nothing here in the western world we live in.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  2. KLear says:

    Normally I ‘d jump in here and offer some comment about the naivety of Mahler…but I don’t care anymore. The Fehr brothers have gotten what they wanted: a lockout to prove nothing more than they are bad-asses, and that they can push leagues around. They wanted to play chicken with the NHL and now find the brakes on the car don’t work.

    The players were hauling in way past 50% of league revenues. They wanted their status quo AND they wanted a 30 team league AND they still wanted the teams to pay for their toothpaste for pete’s sake.
    It doesn’t matter if Bettman is Commissioner or Big Bird – there is no business model in the world that can survive that.

    Note to the players: I am a big boy now….I can buy my own toothpaste, tooth brush and I can even tie my own skates. Grow Up and Wake Up.

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  4. doogie says:

    Bettman’s record speaks for itself. 20 years and labour unrest. I don’t care what he made for the owners group, hockey is not in a better spot now with him in charge.

    He’s gotten the owners and players into this mess and has no idea how to get out of it. Shameful actually to see what he’s done to the NHL.

  5. sevenman says:

    Who is Jonathan Mahler? Gary Bettman has held his position for 20 years and although the guy is far from perfect, everytime his contract has come up for renewal it gets renewd by the people who pay his salary.
    Mahler’s article is like anyone else with an opinion and a spin. Not to worry, this lockout will be over at some point and fans will return just like they did in ’05.

  6. frontenac1 says:

    Heads Up Amigos! St.Johns Ice Caps vs Bulldogs on Sportsnet at 7:30pm Tonight.

  7. jols101 says:

    Got a sneaky suspicion that team USA is going to sit Galchenyuk out this next tune up game. Going to set the alarm for 5:55 a.m. regardless but will be a little ticked off if they do.

  8. Haborama says:

    IF CONTRACTS ARE VOIDED, MB should immediately attempt to sign the following players:
    Corey Perry
    Bobby Ryan
    Ryfan Getzlaf
    Scott Hartnell
    Tom Wilsonx
    Griffin Rienhaert
    Sejth Jones
    Douglas Murray
    Ryane Clowve
    Shawn Thorntogn

    this lizt is kinda irrational (especallt tyhe last dude) but kjeep in mind that im a kinda drunk right now………….

    have a great weekend everyone!1! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. frontenac1 says:

    T”was the night before Christmas and.all through the house…………….F*ck it! Can’t do those funny poems amigos. Feliz Navidad !!!

  10. malmn says:

    What a load of crap.
    Business wise, Bettman is a great commissioner. He made the players and owners a whole lot richer, and the NHL was actually stronger after the last lock out.
    The players are totally at fault here. They forget that they are millionaire EMPLOYEES.
    The NHL are looking to improve their business and bank accounts while the players are only looking to salvage their pride. Dumb hockey players. They should start thinking with their brains rather than let their emotions guide them.

    GO HABS GO!!!

    • rnnoble says:

      Yeah, everyone keeps saying how Bettman made the NHL richer, but how do we determine that? I think the NHL made money despite Bettman, not because of. Bettman went with the Versus network instead of ESPN (what????) and only recently signed a big contract with NBC that accounts for a large part of the increased revenue. Bettman continues to push non-traditional markets instead of money making locations like Quebec and southern Ontario.
      The increases that everyone keeps mentioning are largely due to the Canadian dollar (which has nothing to do with Bettman), one relocation, and a couple of good deals. Imagine what a good commissioner could have done by moving a couple of teams (along with hefty relocation fees) to good markets and signing a decent network deal.

    • Chris says:

      The NHL’s share of the league’s revenues is literally peanuts. Any credit given to the head office or Gary Bettman is just fantastically naive.

      If you want to dole out credit for the NHlL’s revenue boom, it belongs firmly with a handful of teams, and all of those teams were around before Bettman.

      Bettman has not been universally awful. He did save a few Canadian teams when the pitifully low Canadian dollar was threatening even a team like Montreal, and certainly clobbering Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa. He also played a role in keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh (letting Balsillie loot them would have been an awful turning point in the history of the league).

      But giving him credit for the revenues is just pointless. He had very, very little to do with the Canadian dollar spiking in value.

      • Habilis says:

        The Canadian dollar isn’t the main reason that revenues grew so dramatically. It played a part, yes, but there were other, more important factors. Ticket prices went way up and the TV deals got alot better. Those things can only happen if demand is higher. Demand is higher (or was before the lockout anyhow) now because there are more fans. There are more fans because the league is far more competitive now than it used to be. Competitive translates to exciting for the casual fan.

        Would the league would be as competitively balanced as it is today without the salary cap that Bettman went after 8 years ago? Nope.

        I’m not even a Bettman fan but to say he had nothing to do with the current state of the NHL is just wrong.

        • commandant says:

          In the 4 years before the last lockout 14 different teams took 16 spots in the NHL’s conference finals

          The NHL’s biggest spender (the Rangers) couldnt make the playoffs

          The NHL never had a problem with competition

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  11. HabFanSince72 says:

    Good rant, but the only drawback is the players don’t want contraction either.

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

  12. Propwash says:

    So, players have voted yes, I think next season could be in jeopardy too.

    “Access Forbidden” gettin’ ya down?
    Hold down Shift while clicking refresh.

  13. Bripro says:

    “Beach volleyball in Winnipeg.”
    I like that! But let’s have some across-the-country tryouts.
    The first-women (women only league) should be recruited from Cuba.
    Ladies, please accept my apologies for my Timoesque approach.

  14. Timo says:

    I don’t know anything about other sports/leagues commissioners but I know one thing: Bettman sucks, Fehr sucks and NHL players suck

    They can all go an consummate their relationship in whatever form they would like and give each other a bunch of VDs.

  15. habsfan0 says:

    Still can’t understand why Krispy Kreme didn’t catch on.

  16. Kooch7800 says:

    Bettman is the worst commish for sure. Expanding when it shouldn’t into markets it doesn’t belong.

    He isn’t good for the game and it is time for change

    “Keep your stick on the Ice”

    • Timo says:

      I think that all of the top brass in either NHL or NHLPA are not good for the game.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        Butthead expanded too much into markets that don’t belong. That is the main reason we are in this mess. BUT there is no way the players will agree to retraction. Both sides are in a mess now and both will have to make concessions.

        If this is another full lockout I think there will be changes cause it isn’t working

        “Keep your stick on the Ice”

  17. Mustang says:

    I feel that it is an honor to be first to be able to agree that Buttman is the worst pro sports commisioner.

    EDIT: I do not type fast enough so I am actually second.

  18. GoGioGo says:


    Geez… you guys were right, it’s not that fun!

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