At the NHL press conference to mark the start of the Stanley Cup Final, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced some key information for hockey fans to put in their calendars.
As previously scheduled, the expansion draft will take place on July 21st, and the NHL draft will start on July 23rd – Dallas will have the 15th pick.
The NHL also announced that the postponed Winter Classic between St. Louis and Minnesota would occur on Jan 1st, 2022, at Target Field in Minnesota. Given the two teams involved and the likely frigid conditions in Minnesota, it seems unlikely that many Stars fans will make the trip north.
The NHL also announced a stadium series game at Nissan Stadium (home of the Tenessee Titans) in Nashville. The Music City is a fun place and an easy trip for many Dallas fans, but fans would have to choose whether to root for Nashville or Tampa. Neither choice is likely to enthuse the Dallas faithful.
A more fun destination for Texas hockey fans might be the All-Star game scheduled for Las Vegas. While the date hasn’t been confirmed, it’s likely to be in mid-late January 2022.
The Commissioner addressed (or arguably failed to address) two controversies currently ongoing in the NHL, the standard of officiating – particularly in the play-offs, and the allegation that the Chicago Blackhawks covered up sexual assault allegations against one of their coaches.
Bettman claims that NHL officials are “not only the best hockey officials but the best officials in the world.” To which most hockey fans seemed to react:
The allegations against the Blackhawks are enraging. We won’t go into the details here as they have been covered in detail, and with great skill and sensitivity by Katie Strang, Scott Powers, and Mark Lazerus in the Athletic (for an unlocked precis, try this 31 Thoughts piece by Elliott Friedman ). Bettman indicated that the NHL wouldn’t take proactive action but would wait for the result of the Blackhawks internal investigation. The less-than-proactive response was unsatisfactory, to say the least.
It’s pretty much traditional for hockey fans to hate the Commissioner, but attempting to minimize or at least push down the road serious issues in the NHL, and hockey in general, hardly seems to inspire confidence in the direction of the league.
Featured Image: DARRYL DYCK/AP PHOTO/THE CANADIAN PRESS