Gary Bettman On The Changes Coming To NHL And Hockey Culture | FULL PRESSER
- In wake of multiple abuse allegations made against a variety of NHL coaches — including Mike Babcock, Bill Peters and Marc Crawford — the NHL is taking action.
- League commissioner Gary Bettman announced in a press release on Monday that the league is taking steps to implement changes, new policies and new initiatives in order to address inappropriate conduct and abuse moving forward.
“Whether it happened 10 years ago or last week, the answer must be the same — it is unacceptable,” Bettman said of the alleged abuse.
“While we may not have known, the fact is that we as a league — on behalf of ourselves, our teams and our players, coaches, organizations and fans — must respond in a clear, meaningful and appropriate manner. Professionalism and respect have always been important to the league, but it is now a particularly important time to discuss it because everyone is entitled to a respectful workplace.”
- According to Bettman, the league “will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind” while emphasizing the importance of inclusion in today’s game.
“Inclusion and diversity are not simply buzzwords, they are foundational principles for the NHL,” Bettman said. “It’s why we initiated the Declaration of Principles and why we invest so much time and effort, along with so many resources into our ‘Learn to Play’ and ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ programs.”
- The commissioner also announced the league will institute a mandatory annual program on counseling, consciousness-raising, education, and training on diversity and inclusion.
- The program will be required for all head coaches, minor-league bench bosses under contract with NHL clubs, assistant coaches, general managers, and assistant general managers.
- Bettman explained that the program’s structure will be created by outside professionals and that the league will consult with the NHLPA to determine the extent that it should be presented to the players.
- Lastly, the NHL will create a platform – “perhaps a hotline,” according to Bettman – on which incidents of inappropriate conduct connected to the league can be reported either anonymously or for attribution.
- In November, former NHLer Akim Aliu revealed Peters hurled the N-word at him multiple times when the two were with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in 2009-10.
- Former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan also said Peters kicked him and punched another player in the head during a game when Peters was behind the bench in Carolina.
- Peters admitted directing “offensive language” toward Aliu and stepped down as Calgary’s head coach days later.
- Following Bettman’s remarks Monday night, Aliu tweeted that he was pleased to see the commissioner taking action.
- Aliu met with Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly at the NHL offices last week, after which the former player said he was optimistic about the coming changes.
- Chicago is investigating Crawford following an allegation by former enforcer Sean Avery that the former NHL head coach kicked him during a game while the two were with the Los Angeles Kings in 2006.
Sources & Credits: Sporting News, The Score