August 31, 2011
Ah, December 1992. Such an innocent time. Bill Clinton was newly elected, the Internet was beginning to revolutionize communication, we were still several months away from the release of "Last Action Hero", and a fresh-faced junior executive from Dunder Mifflin was hired as the first commissioner of the National Hockey League:
YouTuber "Catch The Taste" has a collection of cool heritage videos and just uploaded this Gary Bettman introductory clip. To Bettman's right was Bruce McNall, then-majority-owner of the Los Angeles Kings and chairman of the NHL Board of Governors. He would be neither of these things two years later.
From the Sun Sentinel in 1992, a bit about the then-40-year-old NHL commish on the day he was hired:
"I think I`m pretty knowledgeable in the sports industry," Bettman said. "I'm going to cram and learn and study as much as I can. I've got to learn the specifics of this business better."Bettman said that he plans to meet with each NHL owner between Feb. 1 and the end of the playoffs. "I`m going to spend time with each of the owners in their markets and I`m going to try to get my fingers on the pulse as quickly as I can to understand what the issues are, both on a league basis and a market-by-market basis," Bettman said.
Asked about a salary cap, Bettman said, "I think we've got to analyze the type of transactions, the type of player movement there should or shouldn't be in the NHL and then create a system that works well for all sides."
'Until the owners find a way to circumvent their own rules and screw themselves,' he added, under his breath ...
Look, someone needs to tell the truth about Bettman, so we're just going to swallow our pride, roll up our sleeves and admit something:
That is one hell of a tie for an introductory press conference.
It looks like the Painted Hills of Oregon, or if Jerry Garcia tried to draw a map of Portugal. For a league that's as buttoned-up as the NHL, this must have been like showing up to prom in an orange tux. Sigh ... what happened to that non-conformist ... oh, right, he signed with a hunting and fishing channel after the lockout. Should have seen that one coming back in '92.