NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was watching CBC analyst Don Cherry’s “Coach’s Corner” segment off-screen during the first intermission of the Stanley Cup Finals game tonight, but once Cherry brought up his desires for a Quebec expansion team, he and his partner Ron MacLean got Bettman on camera. It was awkward.
Quebec has wanted a new NHL team ever since the Nordiques left for Colorado in 1995, but it appears clear that Seattle is first in line to get the next one. Earlier in May, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs dumped on the city’s prospects for an expansion franchise, saying, “Quebec is challenged” and adding that “they’re going to really have to distinguish themselves” to get a team. Cherry, though, made blunt his belief that Quebec deserves NHL hockey, and maybe intimidated Bettman a bit with his forcefulness.
“A lot of issues—logistical, otherwise,” Bettman responded once he got settled, “And Mr. Jacobs expressed an opinion of some skepticism, but we’re not in a process right now, and he has one vote.” The commissioner then changed the subject by complimenting Cherry’s jacket.
I can’t stop watching Bettman’s twitchy left hand, especially before he even says anything. This is great leadership.