Ten THOUSAND fucking days for Gary Bettman. He officially became the NHL Commissioner on February 1st, 1993 and within a year the NHL was heading towards it's first work stoppage. Then...another one 10 years later, and then one more about 9 years after that. Hence, all the boos he gets any time he steps up to a microphone anywhere in North America. I have to say though, when you take a step back, his era has been a time of exceptional growth and he navigated some challenges that none of the other pro sports leagues have to deal with.
NHL Revenue when Bettman was named commissioner was $732M. The revenues for the 2018-19 season were $5.1 BILLION. HUGE come up. Not to mention the NHL map has grown dramatically. In 1993 there were 24 teams, and three of them were in "warm weather" markets. Since then the league has added Anaheim, Florida, Arizona, Dallas, Carolina, Nashville, and Vegas. And he also righted wrongs of that Sun Belt relocation phase by returning franchises to great NHL markets in Winnipeg and Minnesota.
He's certainly not perfect. The work stoppages are bad, his positioning on CTE is bad, his ability to expand the game into new markets, but not necessarily new demographics is also bad. Having said that... he has done his job better than most people seem to recognize. The game is growing. It's better, more popular and accessible to the core fans than ever. The NHL has been through a lot of change and pain during his 27 year reign, but finally it seems as though Bettman has closing in on the one thing that has always plagued him...labor stability
Watching baseball go through this absolute clusterfuck of a re-start negotiation makes me appreciate how strong the partnership between the NHL and NHLPA appears to be at this time. There's a revenue split. The books are largely open. There are some things to work out around ESCROW, but it feels like for the first time my life and Bettman's reign hockey has everything. A dedicated TV partner, a great product, wider appeal, and labor peace. Feels great to be a hockey fan. Here's to another 10,000 days of Gary.