Most of the players I've talked to over the last few years like the job he's done for both them and the league. The league's articles give the players the chance to veto his contract, and they've overwhelmingly endorsed him each time it's come up.
Take the Phoenix situation for example, I've talked to several players over the last year and I've yet to meet one who thinks the team should be in Winnipeg or Hamilton, and that includes players who are from the Hamilton area or played in Winnipeg (Numminen/Khabibulin).
The NHL is a collective non-profit organization owned equally by the 30 teams, and has three layers.
1) There is the league and it's management team.
John Collins is the NHL's CEO and COO and is responsible for the day to day operations of the NHL neutral of either the players or owners
Colin Campbell, Brendan Shanahan, Michael Murphy, Kristopher King, Kenneth Yaffe, and Benito Ercolani are the League's VPs and report to John Collins
2) There are the players and their unions
The players technically report to their respective team owners, and and are represented by their union leader (position vacant - feel free to apply!)
3) There is the Owners, headed by Jeremy Jacobs (owner of the Boston Bruins since 1975)
Gary Bettman is the Commissioner and reports to Jeremy Jacobs
William Daly is the Deputy Commissioner and reports to Gary Bettman
The way the NHL operates is that it is supposed to be a partnership between the players and the owners, but anybody who knows anything anbout business knows that the partnership is 90?wners 10?layers.
When Ken Yaffe talks to ABC/NBC/ESPN/CBC etc, he takes the proposal first to John Collins, and then Collins takes that proposal to Gary Bettman, who then lays it out to the owners. Bettman does not have a say in which proposal is chosen, that is strictly up to the 30 owners. In case of a tie, Bettman would then get a vote. Once the owners choose a proposal, it is up to Gary Bettman to tell the world what that proposal is. Clarence Campbell was the last NHL Head who actually voted on anything, and in the 6 team NHL he voted often as Chi/Det/Bos always voted against Tor/Mtl/NYR.
What it all boils down to is that the owners make the decisions on how the league is run, and aside from a few items where the NHLPA has a say (revenue sharing and rules) the person who takes those decisions to the world is Gary Bettman.
When a team goes up for sale, it is the responsibility of the existing owner to find a buyer that is amenable to the rest of his partners. Since the rest of his partners also have day jobs (there are no NHL teams owned by individuals who only own a hockey team), it becomes the responsibility of the owners representative (Gary Bettman in this case) to mediate the process. As with most business dealings, these people like to keep things private. So, just because the fans didn't hear about Bettman getting Barry Shenkarow and Global together in an effort to keep the Jets in Winterpeg, doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Bettman has encouraged the owners to look for revenues in ways that they didn't before. He has been able to use his connections to market the league with groups that in the pre-Bettman era wouldn't have touched hockey. He has encouraged the owners to be more consistent in their day to day operations and record keeping (the NHL is the only league which is unable to provide a complete statistical history because prior to Ziegler taking over in 1977, there was no requirement for teams to provide data to the league). All of this information has helped the league increase it's revenue in every year since Bettman took over (aside from 2004-05) and made the players and owners oodles of money. The players like money, and like that. Prior to the 1994 CBA, the players had no say in revenue sharing and very little say in rule changes, Bettman convinced the owners that the players were the face of the game and needed to be consulted. The players like that as well.
Yes, there are some players (like Chelios) who have a problem with him (at the time of Chelios' comments, he was in the top 5?f the league's pay scale - it's not like he was going broke or destitute because he missed 4 months of hockey), but for the most part, the players support the commissioner and the owners.
BEST ANSWER HERE - He better be COMPLETELY Biased to the owners, not just "mostly"...he's employed by the owners, not the players
1) the Conference and Division name changes were announced by John Ziegler at the 1992 Draft and at the 1993 All-Star game, Gil Stein showed off the new All-Star uniforms. People like to blame Bettman for that because the change took effect the year he started
2) Bettman didn't cause two lockouts, the owners caused two lockouts. If you had been hired as commissioner, you would have supported the lockout too....because if you didn't, you would have been fired. Bettman was hired on the basis that he would support the owners in case of a lockout, all candidates who weren't going to do that, were no longer being considered.
Answered By: Like I'm Telling You Who I A - 6/3/2010