With the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in the rear view mirror and the opening of free agency still five days away, the hockey world turns its attention to The Hockey Hall of Fame today as its selection committee prepares to announce the induction class for 2018.
Among the candidates are legends Martin Brodeur and Martin St. Louis. Both players are likely locks to get in, but there’s also a strong case for players like Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Mogilny, Curtis Joseph and Jeremy Roenick among others. Under the Hall of Fame’s “Builders” category, it’s expected that longtime NHL ambassador Willie O’Ree, the first black man to play in the NHL, will finally receive a nod from the selection committee. That will no doubt make a lot of hockey fans happy… but the man rumored to be joining O’Ree will certainly NOT make fans happy. That man? NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Alan Muir, Bettman will get the nod along with O’Ree when the selection committee officially unveils this year’s class later this afternoon.
Check it out:
Source: Willie O’Ree to be inducted as builder to Hockey Hall of Fame. Joining him as a builder…Gary Bettman. HHOF
Again… say WHAT!?!
Unless the selection committee’s intent is to honor Bettman for the most unnecessary lockouts of any professional sports league, we’re not sure what exactly Bettman has done to earn this distinction. He’s almost universally hated by hockey fans, as evidenced by the fact that he’s booed vociferously whenever he’s forced to face a crowd. I mean… they even booed him in Vegas during the Stanley Cup presentation just months after he gifted the city a franchise and created an Expansion Draft that was heavily weighed in their favor. If Vegas boos this guy, it’s clear that he’s hated league wide…
Since joining the NHL in 1993, Bettman has been responsible for work stoppages in 1994, 2004 and 2012. Surely we all remember the whitewashed season in 2004-05, which was truly the darkest days for NHL hockey fans. Under Bettman, the NHL has grown by five new franchises and has seen the relocation of five franchises. Almost every new market introduced by Bettman, discounting the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets 2.0, resides in the Sun Belt of the United States.
If you want a real answer as to why Bettman is set to receive such a prestigious honor, take a quick peek at the bank statements from NHL owners. Under Bettman the NHL has grown from a $400 million business to a $3 BILLION business. Like most things in life, if you want an answer just follow the money…