Beyond The Benches

Gary Bettman’s Top 3 Accomplishments

It seems that nobody likes Gary Bettman. Whether you know a lot about him or nothing at all, the average hockey fan understands that he/she is supposed to dislike him and boo hard when he comes out to present the Stanley Cup. Well did you know that Bettman was named Sports Executive of the Year by Sports Business Journal? Yes, there have been three lockouts under his watch, but he is far from the worst commissioner in professional sports (that distinct honor goes to Roger Goodell), and he has actually done a lot of positive things for the league. Here are Bettman’s top 3 accomplishments:

3. The Winter Classic

The growth and success of the Winter Classic under Bettman has been quite impressive. There is something magical about playing hockey outside, and the Winter Classic has become one of the best and most beloved annual sporting events. The 2014 Winter Classic was even named the Sports Event of the Year at the Sports Business Awards.

2. Stanley Cup Playoff Excitement The NHL realignment that passed in March of 2013 made the Stanley Cup Playoffs even better by igniting old rivalries and helping to ensure that the playoff match-ups were the head-to-head contests that fans wanted to see. Bettman had the improved playoff format in mind when realignment passed, and it has already increased playoff excitement.

1. The TV Deal With NBC Sports Group

The record-setting 10-year TV deal signed between the NHL and NBC in 2011 was possibly the crowning achievement of Bettman’s tenure as commissioner. It put hockey in the spotlight by bringing more nationally televised NHL games to Americans than ever before and continues to be a big part of hockey’s surge in popularity.


Writer: Noam Waksman is currently a senior at Connecticut College (go camels!) where he majors in English and Psychology. An unabashed Boston sports fan since birth, the Bruins have always held a special place in his heart. Noam resides in Wellesley, MA and can be reached on twitter @NoamWaksman or by email at