Wednesday afternoon at the Prudential Center, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media proior to game one of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final between the Kings and Devils. Some notes from the press conference:
In his address, the commissioner lauded the way the League has grown in recent years, particularly the past year, in which the NHL drew in a record $3.3 billion dollars in revenue, saw 96% of their attendance filled in the regular season, and 102% of attendance in the playoffs. Bettman also thanked and praised the NBC Sports group for the increase in viewership, which coincided with the lauch of the NBC Sports network and the act of televising every NHL playoff game nationally.
The most pressing issue for Bettman, obviously, is the opcoming labor negotiations, as the current NHL CBA is set to expire on September 15. Bettman said that the goal was to find a CBA that helps to grow the “business and the game to even higher levels.” Bettman refused to go into any detail or speculate on the labor situation as well, saying that he did not understand why there was so much negativity and concern surrounding the beginning of labor talks.
The commissioner also addressed on-ice issues, such as player safety, saying that the League had seen a decrease in concussions for the first time in three years, lauding the “tremendous job” of Brendan Shanahan. Bettman also noted that this was in spite of the fact that there are more aggressive diagnosis and conservative treatments, and that he hopes that the number of illegal hits will continue to go down.
More to come from Newark this evening.
Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Stanley Cup Final for RtR. Follow him on Twitter here