Gary Bettman apologies to the players and the fans.


January 9, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the National Hockey League lockout during a press conference at the Westin New York in Times Square. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Well, as we all know the National Hockey League and the NHL players’ union have finally buried the hatchet and agreed on a ten year collective bargaining agreement.

Within minutes of the NHL and the NHLPA agreeing to a brand new collective bargaining agreement, Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference had sent out a tweet to the fans.  He then followed up with an apology to all of us. (Personally, I don’t think Ference had to apologize. He was one of those players that came in last minute of regulation and helped score the winning goal in this lockout disaster.) Within hours, every Boston Bruin that had a twitter account had apologized in one way or another to the fan base. Those players that didn’t have a direct social media account practically flagged down reporters to spread the apologies out to the universe.

Well, sooner or later the management of the NHL was going to have to pony up and offer their own apologies to us. They would offer up their own “sincere” regrets that they chose to fire off the lockout as the opening negotiating gambit. That they were really sorry about throwing out not just wrong but down right offensive offers to the players’ union and then demand that the players take it or leave it. They want to offer their condolences to the players who they stared down at the negotiations and told them that just having their union executive in the room would be a “deal breaker”. Well, for the sake of complete disclosure, I offer up the words of Gary Bettman as he apologized for the hockeyocalypse he almost dumped on us.

“To the players, who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating labor contracts; to our partners, who support the league financially and personally; and most importantly, to our fans, who love and have missed NHL hockey, I’m sorry. I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months, but I owe you an apology nevertheless.”

“As commissioner of the National Hockey League, it sometimes falls upon me to make tough decisions that disappoint and occasionally anger players and fans. This was a long and extremely difficult negotiation. One that took a lot longer than anybody wanted. I know it caused frustration, disappointment and even suffering to a lot of people who have supported the National Hockey League in many different ways. In the end, neither side got everything it wanted and everyone lost in the short-term. But the NHL gained a long-term agreement that’s good for players and good for teams, and should guarantee the future success of NHL hockey for many years to come. It will help the game to grow, ensuring greater economic stability for all of our teams.”

Well, it’s nice he got “I’m sorry” in there somewhere. If you would like to watch Bettman eat a full serving of crow, here is the entirety of the apology. You got to love it when Gary Bettman actually THANKS Don Fehr for being such a nightmare to him.  So, how will the NHL really show its regret to us?