On Tuesday, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been elected for induction as part of the Class of 2018.
Bettman, who was recently booed during a Humboldt Broncos ceremony at the NHL Draft, has been head of the league for 25 years. During his tenure, Bettman has been the author of three NHL lockouts — during the 1994-95, 2004-05, and 2012-13 seasons — with another widely speculated to be on the horizon when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2021-22 season.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was also critical of Bettman’s decision not to allow NHL players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Olympic Athletes from Russia would, ultimately, go on to win gold.
With the long awaited induction of Willie O’Ree, as well as Martin Brodeur, Bettman’s announcement has taken most of the attention away from those former players.
The greatest goalie in NHL history (statistically) and its first black player are likely making the Hall of Fame today and 99% of the conversation is going to be a referendum on Bettman's career if he's in.
I wonder who nominated him?
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 26, 2018
As Bettman is a fairly unpopular figure in hockey, you can only imagine how news of his induction went down as the announcement spread. The replies on Twitter alone were savage.
— Julie and Fifi the Pit (@FTJ_Julie) June 26, 2018
Gary Bettman also in the Hall of Fame pic.twitter.com/9icIG4MUQx
— The Hockey Hangout (@HockeyHangout) June 26, 2018
The Gary Bettman plaque at the HHOF should only be displayed outside the front door after working hours when fans are locked out.
— Earl Sleek (@earlsleek) June 26, 2018
We are really putting Gary Bettman in the hall? For what? Most lockouts during time as commissioner?
— Mike Grinnell (@MikeGrinnell_) June 26, 2018
Gary Bettman being inducted into the Hall of Fame reminds me of Michael Scott buying himself the World’s Best Boss mug. pic.twitter.com/hqSHm6V1sO
— Cpl Matthews (@CplMatthews) June 26, 2018
Bettman will enter the Hall in the Builders category. He will be inducted on November 12, 2018, along with players Martin Brodeur, Jayna Hefford, Martin St. Louis and Alexander Yakushev and fellow Builder Willie O’Ree.
The full press release from the NHL follows below.
The Hockey Hall of Fame announced today that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was elected to be inducted as a member of the Class of 2018.
Commissioner Bettman’s leadership during his 25 years of service as the National Hockey League’s first commissioner has driven explosive growth of the League – including its expansion to 31 teams and a 10-fold increase in League revenues. His vision and direction have spearheaded changes on and off the ice that have produced unprecedented franchise stability and competitive balance, built the NHL into a global brand, attracted unprecedented network television coverage and developed the League into a multi-media company.
Commissioner Bettman will enter the Hall in the Builders category. He will be inducted Nov. 12, 2018, along with Players Martin Brodeur, Jayna Hefford, Martin St. Louis and Alexander Yakushev and fellow Builder Willie O’Ree.
The announcement of the Class of 2018 was made by Hockey Hall of Fame Chairman Lanny McDonald following today’s meeting of the Hall’s Selection Committee.
“What makes the game of hockey so wonderful is the fans, the players, the coaches, the cities that back their teams, the global growth of hockey, the ever-expanding growth of our game in North America and, of course, the competitive balance we are fortunate to have in our League,” said Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky. “The Commissioner’s vision to give every Club a chance to win the Stanley Cup has made our game stronger. His leadership and love for hockey is very evident. And hockey has become more entertaining year after year, thanks in part to his passion for the game. Congratulations, Mr. Bettman.”
“I am absolutely delighted, and this honor is long overdue,” said Hockey Hall of Famer Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins and Chairman of the NHL’s Board of Governors. “Gary has dedicated the last 25 years to the constant improvement of hockey at all levels. His work ethic is legendary and there is no one more deserving.”
“Gary has been a force of nature for the National Hockey League,” said longtime NHL executive Brian Burke, who served as Commissioner Bettman’s first Director of Hockey Operations. “His vision, wisdom and leadership have truly transformed the game at all levels.”
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