Friday, April 22, 2005

Another Example of how Bettman is bad for Hockey Fans

The professional players involved inthe last two winter Olympiads have made for great Olympic hockey. Arguably, this is the best hockey fans have seen under Gary Bettman's run as NHL commissioner. If Gary Bettman was concerned with making the fan happy, he would be trying to get NHL players into the future Olympics at all costs. Even if the lockout finally came to an end 3 weeks before the beginning of the Olympics, it would be in the best interest of hockey fans to have the NHL further delay the start of their season to allow their players to participate in the Olympics. This would build up good will with the long ignored dedicated hockey fan. Also, this would boost the publicity of hockey. Olympic watchers who are not regular hockey fans would see our game showcased. As a further bonus, a strong showing by the Ameircan team would help Bettman in his long failing dream of selling the sport nationally in the US.

Of course, this isn't the way Gary Bettman works. He has never been too supportive of stopping the NHL season to allow NHL players in the Olympics. Once again he is on record obstructing this process. Read about it here. He states that the lockout is jeopardizing NHL participation in the Olympics. Of course if the NHL is still locked out at Olympic time, then NHL players would be free to go play there if they felt like it. Bettman is referring to a situation where the lockout ends, but possibly after delaying the start of next season. He would not want to give up the time when games would be played - and the money he assumes can be made by playing those games.

Its clear to me that hockey will need something big to lure back some of the fans they have lost. They will need something similar to the Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa home run race that baseball had after their strike. The Olympics could provide these moments. Passing that up is stupid. Most importantly, it further alienates those hockey fans that remain who want to see the best players in the world play in the Olympics. Gary Bettman's regime has held the game of hockey hostage long enough. Now he is threatening to take more hockey away from us even after the lockout ends.

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