Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gary Bettman demands people stop calling NHL crappiest of the four major North American sports

TORONTO (SOJP) -- In light of controversy swirling around the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is demanding people stop dubbing hockey the worst of the four “major” North American sports leagues.

“It’s time our status was elevated,” Bettman told reporters yesterday. “Hockey is finally ready to shine in the spotlight.”

The commissioner pointed to baseball’s steroid scandal, basketball’s referee gambling, and football’s dog fighting problems as reasons why sports fans, particularly those in the U.S., should stop calling NHL hockey the crappiest of all major sports.

“Look at all the problems they’re having,” Bettman said. “My league is full of bearded guys who think a wild night is scoring a hat trick and receiving oral sex from a drunk Canadian woman while on a road trip.

“It’s a family atmosphere.”

National Basketball League commissioner David Stern, who worked with Bettman while Bettman was with the NBA, had a harsh response for hockey’s top executive.

“With all due respect, I think Gary should mind his own league,” Stern said. “LeBron James sleeps with more people in one season than the Thrashers get to a single game.”

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig also chimed in.

“Many people can make an excellent case that I am the most incompetent league commissioner, if not person, in the past 30 years of sports,” Selig said. “But Gary Bettman makes me look like the offspring of Marie Curie and Leonardo da Vinci.”

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell declined to comment about Bettman. He did tell reporters he “didn’t know” what hockey was but that he would crush anything in his path, particularly anything originating from Canada.

The NHL commissioner shrugged off the rebuttals, however, saying that now is the perfect opportunity for hockey to strike and capitalize on the sour taste each league is leaving in its fans’ mouths.

“All I know is the good people of Texas will agree with me,” he said. “That’s why I’m putting teams in Fort Worth, Plano and Houston.

“Maybe in Hawaii, too. They’ll watch anything. Dog the Bounty Hunter? It’s a terrible show! Same thing over and over, and there’s no action. It’s nothing like hockey.”

When asked about Rick Tocchet and his recent organized gambling conviction, Bettman denied the affair would negatively impact the NHL.

“Unfairly, the NHL hasn’t been given much publicity in recent years,” Bettman said. “Mr. Tocchet, however, has done the league a service.

“Thanks to the controversial nature of his story, we have appeared on ESPN’s Sportscenter twice this month, Bettman said. “One of those times we appeared as the 11th story, after baseball scores, an NFL training camp update, a soccer feature, and an instalment of Who’s Now?

SOJP polled some sports fans as to whether they felt hockey should no longer be deemed the worst of the four major North American sports. One American fan said he still won’t attend games because he “finds Eskimos shifty and untrustworthy.” Another said he thinks hockey has a chance to elevate its status “because of that Beckham guy.”

Regardless, Bettman stuck to his guns.

“C’mon,” he said. “Nobody likes the NBA anymore. Watch hockey. It’s the fastest game on Earth!”

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