Gary Bettman is a lobbyist and his job duties include talking to politicians about freeing money for arena funding.
The US and Canadian media, with no real understanding of the job description of a commissioner, have been tearing apart Gary Bettman for years about a perceived perception that Bettman has anti-Canadian stance and never include in their critiques of the “New York lawyer” or the “diminutive” commissioner helped prevent the Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington from selling his team to Houston sports owner Les Alexander who planned to take the team to Texas in 1998. Bettman also helped broker a deal to keep the Ottawa Senators in the Canadian capital, although technically the Senators home arena is in Kanata, which is west of Ottawa.
Bettman also fought to keep franchises in Pittsburgh, Nashville and Glendale, Arizona (Phoenix). He pushed for Edmonton and Calgary to get a share of the Alberta hockey lottery.
Under Bettman’s watch, Quebec City, Winnipeg and Hartford (three former World Hockey Association teams) have relocated. Quebec City to Denver in 1995, Winnipeg to Phoenix (now Glendale) in 1996 and Hartford to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1997. All three cities simply did not have state of the art 1990s hockey arenas. Connecticut Governor John Rowland, who ended up in prison, seemed smitten with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft snooping around Hartford looking for a stadium for his National Football League team and didn’t really play ball with Hartford Whalers owner Peter Karmanos.
Rowland not only lost a hockey team but probably Compuware jobs as Karmanos wanted to establish a Connecticut outpost for his computer company.
Winnipeg regained a team when Atlanta moved to the Manitoba city.
Ottawa was a troubled franchise during the first decade of Bettman’s tenure