clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How the Bettminch Stole Hockey

It's beginning to look a lot like Islesmas... except for, you know, not having any Islanders games to watch. What brought us to this lowly state?

You're a mean one, Mr. Bettman...
You're a mean one, Mr. Bettman...
Bruce Bennett

All the Fans down in Fanville loved hockey a lot
But the BETTMINCH, who came from Basketballburgh, DID NOT.
The Bettminch hated hockey, it just didn't please him -
Nobody knows why, but he'd killed prior seasons.
It could be, he claimed, that teams lost too much money;
Or perhaps that arenas were wasted on hockey.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
Was the fact that his brain was three sizes too small

But whatever the reason, his brain or his money
He looked at the CBA and hated ice hockey.
He stared from his office with that weaselly frown
At the happy Fans waiting for pucks to drop down.
And he knew, with each signing and practice and trade
That the games were getting closer to being played.

"And they're buying their tickets!" he whined with a sneer.
"Opening Day is practically here!"
Then he growled, with his adding machine nervously adding,
"I MUST find a way to keep hockey from happening!"
For, soon, he knew...
...All the Fans, blue and pink,
Would wake up bright and early. They'd rush for the rink!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the cheering and noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! CHEERFUL NOISE!
All the Fans, young and old, would sit down to a game.
They'd cheer! They'd boo! Goal horns would proclaim!
They would feast on nachos, and hot dogs, and beer
Which was something the Bettminch could never hold dear!

And THEN, they'd do something he liked least of all!
After months of contests, and teams bravely striving,
They'd line up for handshakes, with confetti spinning.
And the last team rewarded the Stanley Cup for winning.
They'd cheer! And they'd cheer! And they'd have a parade!
And the more Bettminch thought of the games to be played
The more that he thought, "I must stop this charade!
Why, for twenty-odd years I've put up with it now!
I must finally kill the whole NHL! ... but how?

Then he got an idea...
An AWFUL idea!
The Bettminch had a wonderful, AWFUL idea!

"I know just what to do!" With a gleam in his eye,
He put on his Commissioner's suit and tie
And he chuckled and clucked, "What a dirty little trick!
I'll chase off the Fans with a lockout, right quick!
All I need is a reason..." He looked all around,
But since hockey was awesome, there were none to be found.
Did that stop Bettminch? You've got to be kidding.
"I'll just get the owners to do my bidding!"
He gathered his owners, and spoke to them sternly
"You see how your teams all struggle financially!
Three-point-three billion in sales is quite paltry -
We must cut the players' share very sharply."
They called a press conference and gathered reporters
And Bettminch announced, "Our sport's out of order!
We're all losing money, and it never will do
So we want a much greater share of revenue."

All arenas went dark. All employees sent home.
All the Fans who had suffered so much gave a groan.
And the players couldn't even get Bettminch on the phone.
"This is step number one," said the Bettminchy fool
And he slashed the entire preseason schedule.
He sent off the players. Some went overseas.
The younger ones went down to juniors for free.
Some went to the minor league affiliates
And some were just stuck sitting home eating donuts.

The Fans yelled at the Bettminch. "Commissioner, why?
Why can't we watch NHL hockey? WHY?"
Well, you know, that Bettminch was such a snot
That he thought up a lie, right there on the spot.
"My dear sweet Fans," the old Bettminch lied,
"The revenue's pushed far too much to one side!
When have a new CBA, all will be clear.
We'll bring back the players to play their games here."
The lie fooled nobody the least little bit,
The Fans were quite sure he was full of ... baloney.
But nothing the Fans could say or do mattered,
They couldn't be rid of the lying old phony.

So the Bettminch kept going. His cuts became drastic.
He cut out the All-Star Game and Winter Classic.
Nobody bought tickets. Nobody bought jerseys.
The season was dying; Bettminch didn't hurry.
The owners and players both wanted to play
They asked mediators to show them the way
And just when the Fans thought there was an agreement
Bettminch left a voice mail that said, "I didn't mean it."

'Twas a quarter till January. No games were planned.
The lockout was officially out of hand.
Bettminch was finally close to success,
Another full season spent hockey-less.
"Pooh-pooh to the Fans!" he was Bettminchly humming
"They finally realize no hockey is coming!
The players can de-certify away,
But they know it's too late for the league to be saved.
We'll go ahead and find players to sue,
And the miserable Fans! I know just what they'll do!
They're mouths will hang open a moment or two
Then all Fans will go find something better to do!"
"That's a sight," Bettminch said, "that I simply must see!"
So he paused... and he flipped on his big-screen TV...

And what happens next? Well, there's no way to say.
They may try a half-season, and come back and play,
Some Fans are fed up, and will just stay away,
And for plenty of others, it won't be the same.
It makes little sense from the Fans perspective
To destroy the NHL in order to save it.
The players will always find leagues where they're welcome,
If the US and Canada no longer have one.

If you want to make money by playing ice hockey,
Then you have to have games. All else is a mockery.
So Bettminch, if this isn't what you enjoy -
For Bossy's sake, find something else to destroy!