Monday, January 2, 2012
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Addresses the Media After Classic Game
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was very upbeat as he addressed the media after the New York Rangers defeated the hometown Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizen's Bank Park on Monday.
Almost all of the questions revolved about where next year's Winter Classic will be held as most of the rumors in the media had focused on a location near Detroit. Make the jump for Bettman's remarks as presented by NHL Media Services....
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: First of all, Happy New Year, everyone. Thank you for being here. I guess you could say a rivalry outdoors is as good as one indoors. We had a terrific day. It's not every day that an event can actually equal or exceed the hype and the buzz that goes with it, but I think we had -- without regard to who you root for -- a really terrific day.
And the crowd was terrific. The fans here in Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia were great. Obviously, there were a number of fans who traveled from a great distance to come here, as well, and that was great to see. I want to do a fair amount of thank you-ing, starting with David Montgomery of the Phillies and Citizens Bank Park staffs. They were just terrific. Obviously the Rangers and Flyers for being as cooperative and as engaged as they were in the event.
From an NHL standpoint, Don Renzulli, who runs special events; Dan Craig, who is the ice guru, they did a spectacular job. And this event continues to grow and get stronger, as evidenced by the ancillary events, such as the Alumni Game two days ago. So we thank everybody who was involved, and we felt we had a really good day.
To answer the first question: I don't know where we are going next year.
Q. Your thoughts on Philadelphia and how they hosted.
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: It was spectacular. We could not have asked for any more from the event. And I think the Alumni Game was a great appetizer to the main event today -- having 45,000 people in here on Saturday -- and just the entire reception in the city, the buzz throughout the city, and the crowd today was great.
This was just a terrific event for us, and we are grateful to everybody who was involved, particularly and including the City of Philadelphia.
Q. I know you said you don't know where you're going next, but is there --
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: A short list?
Q. Do you feel the game needs to get out of the East?
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: My guess is it will be played in a place we have not been before. So, therefore, in the U.S., you’ve eliminated five locations. You can play with the other 25, play with geography and understand that temperature is a factor (as evidenced by the fact that we moved two hours today, which I think worked out pretty well) -- and by the way, in that context, thank you to CBS, RDS and NBC for working so well with us, for covering the event so well, and for demonstrating the flexibility we needed to get this right.
Between last year and this year, we have learned a lot about how to move the event, how to make the calls and how to deal with meteorological reports and respond and I think the two-hour delay made for a better game. (So, regarding getting out of the East and predicting next year’s site,) The answer is you can eliminate some of the warmer climates. We are not probably going to go back to where we have been.
So that's all you get from me today.
Q. Can a team petition the league to play a regular-season game without it being a Winter Classic?
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: It's possible for them to petition, but under the circumstances, we are tightly controlling the number of outdoor games we have.
There has been considerable debate, both outside my office and within the League and from the clubs. There are a number of clubs who say, ‘I want this, and even if I've hosted it, I don't want to wait 10 years to get it back. So let's do more and more and more.’ Other people say this has become a special event, because it's special, it's unique and that's something that, over time, we'll probably continue to wrestle with. But I don't think we are going to change the format in the short term.
Q. You mentioned the 3 o'clock start time, is that something you might look towards as a more permanent time for future years?
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: It depends. Good question. It depends on a whole host of factors -- not the least of which are the temperature or cloud cover. Actually, we had snow flurries – which was nice. If it was cloudy and overcast, we might not have had to move it. Off of last year's experience, we had a better sense – and we learn each year, a new way to focus on what we have to deal with. Because part of what makes this game so special is, it is the ultimate reality show -- because not only is it a sporting event, where we are going to get an outcome that's unscripted; we have to deal with the elements.
Q. You've played some of the older ballparks; talk about this ballpark as a venue and the fact that you have an up-to-date venue to play in.
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: This is a spectacular venue, and it's kind of modeled on the old-style baseball parks. So it has that kind of charm, but it had all of the modern amenities, as you all know, from the press box and the facilities.
This was a terrific place, we had 46,000 people in here and it felt intimate, even though it's two and a half times what we normally play in front of. So this worked out extraordinarily well for us and it looked really
nice dressed up as a hockey venue.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass