The end of the Stanley Finals is a tradition like no other in the National Hockey League. The winning team gets handed the Cup, and the players parade it around the ice celebrating after a long hard season.
During his state of the League address prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between Chicago and Boston NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked if he would be presenting the Stanley Cup this year.
Bettman answered the question with an emphatic “YES!” So this year will be like every other year as Gary Bettman will walk the red carpet and present either Chicago or Boston with the Stanley Cup.
While all sports commissioners are not liked, it seems Gary Bettman has been disliked by the fans of the NHL ever since he took the position. Even before the most recent lockout, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was already a hated man by fans of the NHL and it seems to have gotten even worse this year.
When the dust settles on another season, and the Stanley Cup presented, this is a time of year for the League to get a positive reaction not a negative one. That is why the NHL needs to consider eliminating Gary Bettman from the Stanley Cup celebration.
While yes during the 2012 Stanley Cup celebration, he heard cheers instead of boos because the hometown Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup, most of the time during the presentation of the Stanley Cup he was getting booed.
Take for instance in 2011, when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup on Vancouver’s home ice. The booing was so deafening the commissioner had to yell into microphone to present then Bruins goalie Tim Thomas with the Conn Smythe Trophy and Zdeno Chara with the Stanley Cup.
In some cities across Canada and the United States the booing is louder than in other cities. It got so bad in Vancouver that fans littered the ice with bottles and other debris. Some of the items hit the players on the ice. It would be wise on the NHL’s part to have the commissioner step aside to protect him from the unruly fans.
The question has been raised, who would replace the commissioner as presenter of the Stanley Cup? The answer is very simple. The NHL should adopt what the NFL does in terms of presenting the Vince Lomardi Trophy. After a team wins the Super Bowl a legend from the game’s past present the trophy to them.
Imagine if the NHL let former Bruins greats Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, and Phil Eposito present the Stanley Cup to the Bruins if they win it. How cool would it be for the fans of Chicago for Stan Makita and Bobby Hull to present the Stanley Cup to the Blackhawks if they were to win? The crowd reaction would be great for either team especially with the League coming out of a lockout.
Instead of drawing a negative crowd reaction, the NHL should get a positive reaction from the fans. In order to bring excitement and cheers back to the Stanley Cup celebration, the league must eliminate NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman from the forefront of the presentation and replace him with a legend from the game’s past.