One-on-one with… Bill Daly |

« I see this season as a starting point, » NHL Assistant Commissioner Bill Daly said during an interview with the North American NHL Player Media Tour, which was held in the region. from Vegas.

“People ask us what our goals are. It is to maintain our growth. The sport has never been better off than it is now. We had record revenues last year in a season where COVID still had an impact, so we think the future is really bright, and it starts now. »

The 2022-23 season is expected to be the first under a normal format since 2018-19.

The circuit returns to its usual schedule, with training camps opening on Wednesday, and the Stanley Cup will be handed over to the end of June. The League will resume holding games on other continents, as the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks kick off the season in Prague on October 7-8, while the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche cross the iron in Tampere, Finland on November 4-5 as part of the Global Series.

Several events are also on the menu, starting with the 2023 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park in Boston on January 2. All-Star Weekend 2023 will be held in Florida on February 3-4, while on February 18 the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals will play the 2023 Stadium Series at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.

It is hoped that revenue growth will allow the NHL’s salary cap to be raised before long.

The salary cap is usually tied to revenue, which the owners also divide with the players according to the NHL/NHLPA collective agreement. A percentage of players’ income is usually placed in escrow to ensure equal sharing.

But the salary cap was $81.5 million from 2019-20 until last season, and it will be $82.5 million this year due to an agreement between players and owners during the pandemic, when League revenues plummeted. In short, the salary cap cannot return to the level it normally would be before the players repay the debt they owe to the owners, who have maintained the salary cap virtually despite the drop in income during the pandemic.

« Our projections tell us it should be paid back soon, » Daly said.

He said the cap is likely to increase by $1 million for the 2023-24 season, but if revenue continues to grow, that number could be higher.

« We have very preliminary projections for this year, » Daly said. Looking at where we ended up last year, it’s likely that revenues will be better than the projections we had. We think it will take another year before the cap really goes up. But who knows? If we exceed our revenue the same way we did compared to our projections last year, maybe it could go up as early as next summer. »

In a one-on-one with, Daly discussed several NHL-related topics

What does it mean for the NHL to see that the representatives of several teams here on the North American NHL Player Media Tour are young players, starting with the spectacular Trevor Zegras Anaheim Ducks?

“I think the skill level has never been higher in the League, and it’s thanks to player development efforts all over the world, not just in North America. We regularly analyze where our players come from, where they are developing and how they are doing. We try to invest in that, because we think it’s important to do so for a league. Our teams think so too. We want to make sure players are training the right way and learning the right things.

“And I think the youthfulness shows in the personality these players bring to the sport. A hockey player today is probably a much different beast than 25 years ago when I joined the League. They are much more comfortable being creative and stepping out of the traditional hockey player attitude in order to be media personalities, not just jockey players. »

What impact did the Seattle Kraken have in its first year of existence?

“Their debut was fantastic. They built a team – and when I say team, I don’t mean just on the ice, but the whole organization – from scratch, and they really connected with the community in so many ways. They became positive contributors to the community, and supporters loved that. This first season was a great success.

“They probably would have liked to go for a few more points, a few more wins, but that will come with time. It’s an advantage to be an expansion team. Unfortunately, they had to follow Vegas, and Vegas’ on-ice successes have been incredible, but expansion clubs are often allowed more leeway when it comes to the quality of their performances. They will get there.

The Kraken named Alexandra Mandrycky as Deputy General Manager Wednesday. She became the sixth woman appointed deputy CEO since January. What does this mean for the NHL and the sport?

“I think it’s a great trend, and I think you’re going to see more of it. It’s increasing every day. Every day I hear about another hire that probably wouldn’t have been made five years ago, 10 years ago. I think it’s going to be great for the sport. Hearing more people and reaching out to more people is positive for our growth and will grow the sport and its business side. »

How to explain this trend?

“It starts with (NHL Senior Executive Vice President) Kim Davis and the impact she’s had on the sport. It goes further than the NHL. She had a very positive impact on the federations in both Canada and the United States.

“I think the philosophy of our sport is different than in the past when it comes to talking about hospitality and inclusion. Even though we like to think we were doing the right things back then, in the end, we can always do more, and we’ve reached that next level now. It shows in our clubs and in the people they hire, and I think that’s a positive thing. »

What are the next steps?

“We are continuing on this path. Several programs that we have put in place, that Kim’s group has put in place and that the teams have put in place are giving opportunities to more people than in the past. We have to keep making it a priority and keep it on our agenda, and I think we’re ready to do that. Our owners and our teams have absolutely demonstrated that they want to do it. »

What is the status of the Arizona Coyotes, who are moving to a temporary arena this season and looking for a permanent home?

“I would say positive. They made progress over the summer, when the Tempe City Council accepted the draft plan for building an arena in Tempe. There is still another level of government to go, and they expect that to happen this fall. So it’s positive.

“In the meantime, they’re going to play at Arizona State University, as most people know. We’ve been very active with the club to make sure the building will be ready for NHL hockey, whenever possible, and it will be.

“I think the experience will be amazing for the fans. It’s a rather small arena, everyone knows that. It can accommodate up to about 5000 people. I expect the place to be full each night and expect the level of excitement to be high. It could even help the team’s performance on the ice, because the atmosphere will be boosted even if it’s small. »

Does it fit with other NHL teams that have previously played in small temporary arenas while waiting for their permanent homes to be built, such as the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks?

« Yes, and we’re not the only sport that has. In the NFL, the Los Angeles Chargers needed a place to play short-term, and they played for two years in a soccer stadium that was very small by NFL standards. It’s not unheard of. The team won’t be playing there for long, but it will be okay in the short term.

How long can the Coyotes be expected to play at Arizona State?

“They don’t want to create expectations, so worst-case scenario is three seasons in the small arena. In the best case, it could be only two. »

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