Why does Gary Bettman get booed? Explaining the NHL commissioner's frosty relationship with fans

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
Why do NHL fans boo commissioner Gary Bettman?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn't have the best relationship with fans.

Bettman has been the commissioner of the NHL since 1993 and many fans really started to turn on him in 2004 as he was in charge of a lockout for an entire season. The NHL also had another lockout during the 2012-13 season which fans once again weren't happy with. The second lockout was one that really rubbed fans the wrong way.

As well as the lockouts, Bettman has been a big reason for best-on-best hockey (ie. World Cup or Olympic participation) no longer happening which fans and players aren't happy about.

"It's what we've been asking for hockey for a long time, right? Is best-on-best," McDavid said after the World Baseball Classic. "Look, everyone's talking about baseball. You see Ohtani versus Trout. That's what hockey's been missing for almost a decade now."

Ever since the lockouts, NHL fans have grown frustrated with Gary Bettman. As well, the fact he has held the position for so long also rubs fans the wrong way, especially due to the fact the NHL hasn't grown as much as the other big-four North American sports, and with that, the cap has not risen as many expected it to.

Gary Bettman doesn't care about boo's

Although Gary Bettman gets a ton of boos whenever he is announced at the NHL Draft or hands out the Stanley Cup, back in 2016 he told Sportsnet he thought the boos were overblown.

"My interaction with fans is terrific. When I go to a game, the number of people who come up and say hello and want an autograph or a picture is overwhelming at points in time," Bettman said. "I’m not sure that the narrative of what the media suggests fan opinion is is necessarily accurate, at least based on the experience that I have interacting with fans... You know what, if everybody who comes up to me afterwards and says, “I didn’t boo you” didn’t boo me, I’m not sure anybody would be booing me. So who knows?"

Even though Bettman says he doesn't care about the boos, fans likely won't stop booing him. It has become a tradition to Bettman and given how he embraces now, it is something every NHL fan no matter what team they root for can do.

Poll : Would you boo Gary Bettman?

Yes

No

22 votes

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Edited by Srihari Anand