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Gary Bettman and George Stroumboulopoulos

Gary Bettman and George Stroumboulopoulos

Commissioner, National Hockey League and Host, Hockey Night in CanadaA Conversation on the State of Hockey in Canada
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:20 PM
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Sheraton Toronto Centre, 123 Queen Street West
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Lunch will be served at 12:10 PM with the conversation to follow at 12:40 PM.

Live webcast will stream starting at 12:40 PM.

With the NHL season around the corner, fans are wondering how the changes in Canadian hockey broadcasting will affect their access to the game. Please join us on September 22nd for a fireside chat with NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman and Hockey Night in Canada Host, George Stroumboulopoulos as they discuss the launch of the upcoming season, the new frontier in hockey broadcasting, and the state of the game. 

Gary Bettman has served the National Hockey League as Commissioner since February 1, 1993, and has guided the world’s top professional hockey league through more than two decades of growth and advancement on and off the ice. Record revenues, record attendance and a wide variety of fan-friendly initiatives are just a few trademarks of Commissioner Bettman’s tenure, which has brought the NHL to a broader audience, through more media platforms, than any time in League history.

By negotiating a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Hockey League Players’ Association and long-term, multi-billion-dollar national broadcast rights agreements in the United States (NBC Sports Group) and Canada (Rogers Communications), Commissioner Bettman has fostered unprecedented economic stability for the League’s 30 teams. Between 1993 and 2014, League revenues increased nearly tenfold. On the ice, the NHL’s competitive balance may be unrivaled in professional sports: Through the implementation of rules designed to accentuate the speed, skill and creativity of the players, every Club has qualified for the playoffs at least once over the past nine seasons and a different team has earned the most cherished and historic trophy in professional sports – the Stanley Cup – in each of the past 15 campaigns.

The combination of competitive balance, exciting play and a calendar of innovative signature events – including iconic outdoor games (the Winter Classic, the Stadium Series and the Heritage Classic) – has helped drive fan engagement and sponsor participation to unprecedented levels. These achievements were recognized with three Sports Business Awards accorded by the Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily in 2014, with Commissioner Bettman being named Sports Executive of the Year; the NHL being named Sports League of the Year, and the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic – which attracted a crowd of over 105,000 to the University of Michigan’s “Big House” stadium on New Year’s Day – being named Sports Event of the Year.

Charitable undertakings, as well as a focus on community service and diversity, also have been at the forefront of Commissioner Bettman’s tenure. Hockey Fights Cancer has raised millions in support of cancer research and awareness. Mr. Bettman also prioritized grass-roots initiatives that bring hockey to youngsters. These programs include “Hockey is for Everyone,” a part of the NHL Foundation, the NHL’s charitable and community relations organization and a major component of the League’s youth hockey programming.

In addition, the NHL in 2013 signed an historic partnership agreement with the “You Can Play Project” which is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. NHL Green, another of Commissioner Bettman’s initiatives, has worked extensively to support environmental causes. NHL Green released the 2014 NHL Environmental Sustainability Report – the first of its kind by a major professional sports League – which highlights the numerous programs, benchmarks, and successes that have increased the overall sustainability of the League. In 2014, the Green Sports Alliance, a non-profit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues and Leagues enhance their environmental performance, honored the NHL with its Environmental Leadership Award.

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