Speculation: Gary Bettman's future
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12-13-2012, 01:15 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
I can't stand Gary Bettman, and you could argue his legacy either way. But it has to be understood that he is a product of the Executive Committee and a network of allies in smaller US markets. Bettman is pretty close to Jeremy Jacobs (who was responsible for renewing Bettman's contract last year) and has some loyalty from the smaller US clubs whom he brought into the league and has been a staunch supporter of.
The guys with the influence - of these guys, Jacobs and Snider are generally thought to be Bettman allies.
Jeremy Jacobs (Bruins) - Chairman of the Executive Committee
Ed Snider (Flyers) - longest serving member of BoG (i think). Also heads a very important media company.
Mike Ilitch - bought the Wings in 1982 for less than $10M. Franchise is worth over $300M now, so he can't be too unhappy with what Gary Bettman has done, but Ilitch is probably one of the moderates.
James Dolan (NYR)- has been a governor since 1995 and controls a media and sports management empire with over $10B in assets. But Dolan's influence is not what is should be since his confrontation with the Executive Committee over marketing rights. He lost and was pretty much forced to kiss up to Bettman and his supporters. I doubt he's ready to stage any kind of palace coup at this point.
Rocky Wirtz (Blackhawks) - he's not his father, and that's probably a good thing, but he also doesn't inherit his father's clout with the BoGs either.
Tim Leiweke / Philip Anschutz (Kings) - Anschutz is the heavy hitter, and the Kings can't be happy to not be able to capitalize on their Stanley Cup winning season.
Guys who should be influential, but don't seem to be:
Larry Taenbaum (Leafs) - one would think that the governor of the league's most valuable, and highest revenue teams, and an Original 6 team no less, would be influential, but it doesn't seem that Taenbaum weilds much influence. Possibly because the Leafs were owned by Teachers, who were extremely hands off as long as the bottom line was good. But now with Bell and Rogers - two extremely high profile media companies being the majority owners - you would think the Leafs would have some MoJo, but ...
Geoff Molson (Canadiens) - Probably the 2nd most important property, but the Molson's are not exactly known for being outspoken.
Tom Stillman (Blues) - long time governor (1994) but doesn't seem to be very influential.
Ron Burkle / David Morehouse / Mario Lemeiux - In this round, this seems to be the leader of the "moderate" owners. It's hard to be a hardliner when your co-owner is a recently former player and is very close to Sydney Crosby.
But Gary Bettman also has a group of guys who are very close to him. These are guys whom he has either brought into the league or guys whom he "fighting the good fight" for in terms of the core economic issues.
Craig Leipold (Wild) - was hand picked by Bettman as an expansion owner, and when he couldn't make a go of it in Nashville, he was pretty much gifted (or brokered might be more accurate) ownership of the Wild.
Charles Wang (NYI) - Gary Bettman has backed Wang in all of his struggles with Nassau County and the Township. Wang is notoriously loyal. He's back Bettman.
Peter Karmanos Jr (Huricanes) - Karmanos and Jim Rutherford were key players in the strategy to put the NHL into the most important regional TV markets in the US.
Phoenix - The NHL controls this vote.
Too new to be influential:
Jeff Vinik / Tod Leiweke (Lightning) - Vinik was the brains behind the Fidelity Magellan fund and has connections to the Fenway Group that owns the Boston Red Sock and Liverpool FC. Leiweke is the brother of Tim (Governor of the LA Kings) and also has connections to Anschutz.
Tom Gagliardi (Stars) - is a new owner, and therefore likely not as influential. He USED to be very close to the Aquilini's who own the Canucks, but .. not any more. He has connections to players / former players Jerome Iginla, Mark Recchi, Shane Doan and Darryl Sydor with whom he owns the WHL Kamloops Blazers. Probably a moderate as he is a passionate hockey fan and actually plays the game. Gagliardi said in a Dallas interview that basically the executive committee is leading the bargaining efforts and the rest is a "collective".
Mark Chipman (Jets) - another new owner who can't be too influential.
Terry Pegula - Another newcomer, 2011 for Pegs. It's unlikely he is too enthusiastic about seeing his new investments sitting idle.
Francesco Aquilini (Canucks) - Probably a moderate as the Canucks are doing well under the existing CBA and this lockout is poisoning a pretty rabid fan base.
Ted Leonsis (Capitals) - don't know much about him.
Kevin Compton (Sharks) - the sharks owners are like the 11 dwarfs; a coalition of millionaires in a billionaire's game.
Murray Edwards (Flames) - flames are similar to the Sharks, a bunch of millionaires. Last lockout, Flames CEO Harley Hotchkiss led the moderates group as he was close to Iginla who as close to Trevor Linden. Don't know if Edwards is of similar mind or not.
Henry Samueli (Ducks) - a team that has struggled with attendance and revenues. Probably backs the hardliners.
Josh Kroenke (Avs) - like Samueli, the Avalanche are rebuilding and hurting financially. Could be with the less compromising group.
John McConnell (Blue Jackets) - poster child for struggling teams. Probably a hold out.
Darryl Katz (Oilers) - probably want hockey sooner rather than later. The Oil break even or make a small profit as I recall, so this lockout hurts. But he has deep enough pockets to absorb it.
Cliff Viner (Panthers) - another struggling market and in the hardliners camp.
Lou Lamoriello / Jef Vanderveek - don't know where the Devils would fall. Vanderveek is in debt up to his eyeballs.
Eugene Melnyk (Senators) - read between the lines, he has been quoted a lot. He wants an end to this.
Tom Cigarran (Nashville) - again, small market, tough economy, probably with the hardliners.
But as long as it only takes 8 votes to kill the deal, the coalition of Jeremy Jacobs and the financially troubled teams (plus the ones that are close to Bettman) are likely to stand in the way of any deal.
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