Boo Bettman, but he still deserves Hall call
the post-Rigas crisis days. They operated it and didn’t let it get sold off to a place like Hamilton. Once Tom Golisano stepped forward, the Sabres were safe.
Ask anyone who was there then. Bettman believed in Buffalo when plenty of others in the league no longer did.
“I tend to be more forward-thinking,” he said. “I know I’ve been doing this now more than 25 years and I suppose on this weekend people are going to be talking about legacy. I’ve never really focused on my legacy. I’m honored to be here but I’m not sure I do it in terms of what my accomplishments may or may not have been. I leave that for others to say.”
Bettman will get his chance at the microphone Monday night when he’s officially inducted. He said when he initially got the call about his induction, his wife asked, “Does this mean they expect you to retire?”
Bettman said he’s pondering the words in his speech and how he wants to represent the game. But he’s not immune to the same emotion players and coaches feel at this moment.
“It actually seems surreal because this is an honor I’ve never really focused on,” he said. “To be included with the people that are in this amazing hall, as many times as I’ve been part of the ceremony and seen it, it doesn’t seem real now.”
Bettman is 66. Owners have never had the kind of wealth they do now. It seems reasonable to think he would have at least another 5-10 years as commissioner if he wants to stick around.
“As long as the owners are happy, as long as I wake up every morning energized and excited about what I do, which is how I wake up every morning, I’m not thinking about it at all,” he said. “Obviously at some point everything runs its course including age, but it’s not anything I’m focused on right now.”
That’s probably good news for the league and its teams. As for the fans, their reaction to that statement is predictable. Same thing they say every time Bettman speaks.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has embraced the passion of fans over the years.