NHL: not a word about the Coyotes or Quebec


The meeting of the governors of the NHL is usually an opportunity to take stock of various issues, but, exceptionally, commissioner Gary Bettman informed the journalists present in Palm Beach Thursday that he would only answer questions relating to the subjects discussed. by the meeting and which were on the agenda.

The NHL boss promised he would look into all other matters on Friday.

At the end of the first day, he preferred that the message focus on the protocol concerning inappropriate behavior in hockey (see other text below), the management of COVID-19 and the sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Fenway Sports Group.

Whether it’s the future of the Coyotes in Arizona or a possible meeting with the Quebec Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, regarding the Quebec file, Bettman has never flinched.

“Tomorrow!”, he essentially decided, referring to the second portion of the meeting which will continue, in the morning, at the chic Eau Palm Beach hotel.

Another awkward chapter

If the Coyotes are back in the news, it’s because two days ago, The Athletic website revealed that the team had outstanding accounts with the State of Arizona and the city of Glendale. The situation has since been resolved, but it’s another wacky chapter that has been added to a file that the NHL continues to hold stubbornly.

In an article, journalist Katie Strang revealed that the team had received a collection notice for unpaid taxes and taxes, in the order of 1.3 million dollars.

Almost an eviction

Threatened with being evicted from their home, the Gila River Arena, on December 20, the Coyotes immediately signed checks justifying the delay by “unfortunate human error”. A human error of non-payment which, let us remember, would have been perpetuated since June 2020… Hard to believe that the organization was not warned of the situation earlier.

When a question was thrown at Bettman about this umpteenth twist, he flashed his best smile.

« There is no problem [avec les Coyotes]but we will tell you about it tomorrow [vendredi]“, he launched.

Project in Tempe

For years now, there has been a cold war between the hockey club and the city of Glendale. The Coyotes’ lease also ends at the end of this season and they will have to find a new home.

The team has submitted a $1.7 billion development project including a new arena in Tempe, east of Phoenix, and the City is considering it. In the meantime, rumors of the team’s sale continue to swirl and Houston would be the target city for a transfer.

It’s been a long time wondering how much NHL bigwigs will continue to believe the Arizona market will be fertile ground for them.

In its assessment of the value of franchises, published this week, « Forbes » estimates that the Coyotes would have lost $33 million in 2021 and $141.6 million in 10 years.

NEW PROGRAM TO CHANGE HOCKEY CULTURE

Still saying it’s ‘horrified’ and ‘sorry’ over Kyle Beach’s sexual assault with Chicago Blackhawks 11 years ago, NHL launches massive prevention and aid program to change hockey culture .

This is the subject that caught the attention on the first day of the meeting of the governors of the league in Palm Beach, which took place in face-to-face mode for the first time since December 2019.

With this program headed by Executive Vice-President Kim Davis, the NHL wants to tackle all inappropriate behavior, whether it is sexual in nature or involves other types of physical or verbal abuse.

“There is a need as a company to accelerate efforts with regard to respect and inclusion. Anything related to the NHL should be considered a working environment, both in the arena and in the offices. It may be easier to forget when the workplace is a locker room or a mirror,” argued Kim Davis.

Several resources

The one who has worked for many years in various organizations with regard to inclusion issues gave a long and detailed presentation of the measures put in place.

All league employees, from managers to players, will notably have to go through a 90-minute training on expectations regarding “respect in hockey”.

“Our goal is to implement it before the first quarter of the year. We are committed to having all league employees complete the training by June 30,” Davis said.

There will also be the creation of the NHL Hockey Culture Center, a portal that will bring together all support services on a single platform.

Anyone affected by a mental health problem, an addiction or any form of abuse should therefore find the necessary resources there to help them get out of it.

“Incidents will still occur and we want people affected to know where to turn and what to do while feeling safe. People have the right not to feel good in a situation,” added the experienced lady.

An annual hockey culture summit bringing together various consultants to apply best practices in the work environment will also be set up.

With Sheldon Kennedy

The league has also announced that its efforts are being made in partnership with former player Sheldon Kennedy, who revealed himself to have been the victim of sexual assault in his junior years.

“He has been an incredible partner in this adventure. It’s encouraging to see that someone like him, who comes from the hockey world and who has credibility, tells us that what we are putting in place is the right thing,” said Kim Davis.

IN SHORT…

Olympic Games on the menu on Friday

As with all other issues that were not on the agenda, Gary Bettman dismissed that of the presence of players at the Beijing Games in February when he met with journalists. However, the commissioner indicated that this would be the most important subject on the agenda for the second part of the governors’ meeting on Friday.

In September, the league and the Players’ Association reached an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation for players to take part in the Games. The league or the players could, however, avail themselves of an exclusion clause until January 10 if participation becomes “unrealistic”. To be continued…

COVID-19: tighter measures as needed

The NHL has provided an update on recent COVID-19 outbreaks that have affected teams including the Senators and Islanders. According to Bill Daly, assistant commissioner, 19 teams have used advanced health protocols this season, but he believes that the cases that have occurred this year are less serious than those of last season.

“The biggest difference is that the vaccine protects against getting seriously ill. We still have players showing symptoms, but several are asymptomatic. It is a direct effect of the vaccine”, he pleaded, specifying that the contagion is however more difficult to contain because of the Delta variant.

Sale of the Penguins: an important group for the NHL

The sale of the Penguins to the Fenway Sports group has been approved by the governors in Palm Beach. The transaction, which would be around 900 million dollars, therefore brings the group that owns the Boston Red Sox and FC Liverpool into the upper echelons of the circuit. Here is a big player who gives an easy smile to Gary Bettman.

“We are very excited to have a group with such expertise in the sports world join the league. They are also excited to join the NHL. They see a bright future for the league and that’s why they wanted to be with us. » Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, co-owners of the team since 1999, will retain minority shares in the group.



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