A lot has happened in the National Hockey League since Gary Bettman has become the commissioner. 25 years ago, Bettman took on the leading position and since, the league with 24 teams has grown to 31. It is also went from generating about $400 million of revenue annually to now pocket close to $5 billion. Back when he started, the league was without a television deal in the United States and now, it guarantees every playoff game is now available for viewers.
This all sounds like great work from Bettman, but let’s not forget, there have also been one players strike and two lockouts, and many pundits believe a fourth work stoppage is on the way.
One NHL executive has not held back when it comes to calling out Bettman for the pending lockout that could take place in two years. Players agent Allan Walsh wanted fans to remember an important quote from an influential NHL owner on Thursday.
“Remember this quote today from an influential NHL owner: “Revenues are up...the NHL is in great shape”.
In 2 years, Bettman will say the CBA is no longer working and attempts to justify another lockout. Bettman = 3 CBA negotiations, 3 lockouts. “
He even dared to use the hashtag It’s Coming.
Walsh has been on the commissioner’s case since he and the league refused to send the players to the 2018 Winter Games back in February. It is not the first time he called him out, and we bet it won’t be the last before the end of the current collective bargaining agreement.
While the current CBA is set to expire in 2021-2022 we may have a work stoppage long before then as both the NHL's players as well as the NHL itself have the right to opt out of the agreement earlier should they choose to do so. Bettman himself suggested that one side or the other opting out was a possibility.
"I hate work stoppages. I would much rather go to games,” once said Bettman to Gord Miller, as reported by ESPN. “I would much rather go home at night and watch multiple games on television. But it will be interesting to see [which side] reopens [the CBA] and who doesn't."
You can be sure Walsh will remember the quote from the influential NHL owner and reuse it in the future if we approach closer to a fourth work stoppage.