ISELIN, N.J. — In an interview following Wednesday’s meeting between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), NHL commissioner Gary Bettman maintained that the NHL won’t give up in its effort to completely ruin professional hockey.
“I clearly did too good of a job building up the NHL and increasing its appeal across the United States,” explained Bettman. “I never expected the NHL to become so popular. Hockey was gaining momentum on the NBA as the third most popular sport in the U.S. We just can’t have that.”
Bettman is hell-bent on making sure that the NHL doesn’t become any more popular. In fact, Bettman explained that he wants the NHL to fall behind soccer and drop down to the fifth most popular sport in the U.S., and if he can keep the NHL lockout going for a few more months, he might actually get his wish.
NHLPA chief Donald Fehr believes the players and the league can come to an agreement soon. “We are actually quite close to a deal,” said Fehr. “The NHLPA is willing to negotiate and come to an agreement so the players can get back on the ice as soon as possible. I have been trying to call Gary [Bettman], but he isn’t returning my calls. Actually, I think he may have given me a wrong number because the voice on the answering machine is a woman’s voice.”
The NHLPA can try all they want to come to an agreement, but as long as Bettman is determined to continue the lockout, fans will be without hockey for the foreseeable future.
“What fans have to understand is: I am trying to piss them off,” Bettman explained. “How else is hockey going to be less popular than soccer? We were offering fans a quality product for a few years. It takes more than just a couple months to completely wreck the popularity we built up. Plus, soccer is a very lame sport. Look at [Major League Soccer]. You have grown men chasing a ball around a large field with very little scoring. Ya know, now that I think about it, soccer is awfully similar to hockey. We may not need this lockout to last as long as I thought.”