It seems like NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has had enough of all the rumours that the 2019-20 season will end up getting canceled that on Tuesday night, he made a point of sending a message to those of fear hockey won’t return until next campaign.
As per the Mercury News, Bettman, who was a guest in a virtual town hall hosted by the San Jose Sharks for members of its business alliance, stated that ending a season without crowning a champion is, “not something I’m even contemplating.”
“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” Bettman said. “I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.”
Bettman, of course, wasn’t around when the Stanley Cup was not awarded were in 1919, because of the Spanish flu, but it was his own doing when when the league locked out its players and ultimately canceled the season due to an ongoing dispute with the NHLPA over a new collective bargaining agreement in 2005.
He does not seem ready to miss out again on not crowing a champion.
“States are re-opening, cities are re-opening,” Bettman said. “And if we do the right things, I think we’ll be able to finish the season.”
While there is no firm timeline to how the season would be completed, Bettman is hopeful to get it under wraps, studying the possibility of different playoff formats, with a 24-team one being most preferred by team governors.
“We would like to bring a conclusion to this season,” Bettman said. “It’s got to be fair, it’s got to have integrity, and if we have to do it over the summer on some modified basis, then we’ll do it on that basis.”