After Air Canada threatened to pull their sponsorship dollars out of the NHL because of Zdeno Chara’s hit that seriously injured Montreal Canadiens player Max Pacioretty, Bettman responded by threatening to pull the NHL’s use of Air Canada for teams to travel between cities.
While I understand that Air Canada is the sole airline of the Canadian teams who fly to and from the league’s cities, the fact that they think they can bully the league into making a rash decision based on a hit that if it happened anywhere else would have been a two minute minor and would not have caused those injuries is ridiculous, as is the decision by Montreal police to open up a criminal investigation into the hit (but that’s another story). What Commissioner Bettman did to respond to Air Canada showed that he had some balls and showed that the integrity of the play in the National Hockey League was far more important than corporate dollars, regardless of how important those dollars might be to the league. What Air Canada is doing would be akin to say, Budweiser threatening to pull out of the National Football League because of the violent tackles that injure players.
So to Gary Bettman, I award you with a Gold Star for standing up for your league, and standing up for the integrity of the way your players play the game and the integrity of the rules of the league.