The National Hockey League must be happy with the work Commissioner Gary Bettman is doing, because he inked a seven-year contract extension that will make him the league’s commish through the 2022 season, reports Michael Farber.
According to sources, Gary Bettman has signed a new contract through 2022. He declined comment, saying he never discusses his own situation.
— Michael Farber (@MichaelFarber3) January 31, 2016
Bettman has held the post since 1993. During his tenure, he’s grown to be reviled by fans, though he’s done both good and bad things for the league.
The NHL has seen quite a bit of growth under Bettman’s reign. The league has grown with four expansion teams, and five teams have been relocated. He’s secured huge television contracts in both Canada and the U.S. while turning the NHL into a $4 billion industry. There’s no doubt Bettman has done a wonderful job financially, and money speaks.
On the flipside, he’s overseen three lockouts, including the cancellation of an entire season in 2005. Those lockouts benefited the league long-term financially, but were painful to go through for players and fans alike. With him locked up to such a long-term deal, another lockout is inevitable as the NHL or the NHL Players Association can opt out of the current CBA in 2019. That’s not good news for hockey fans.
More recently, Bettman has come under criticism for overseeing the handling of issues regarding drugs, domestic violence, sexism, sexual assaults, and concussion-related deaths. He’s made sure the NHL has been proactive trying to educate and help players on these issues, but his commitment hasn’t been instant, and there still may be a black mark on his legacy because of that.
According to Frank Seravalli of TSN.ca, Bettman made $9.6 million USD in salary for the 2013-14 season, which made him higher paid than all but four of the league’s players.
So public opinion aside, Bettman has at least made the league profitable, which makes owners happy. Fans aren’t going to be thrilled with the move, but they can take solace knowing they can continue to boo him when he hands out the Stanley Cup for the foreseeable future.