NEW YORK (July 22, 2005) - Following are excerpts of remarks by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman following today's Board of Governors meeting:
"Today, our Board of Governors gave its unanimous approval to a Collective Bargaining Agreement that signals a new era for our League -- an era of economic stability for our franchises, an era of heightened competitive balance for our players, an era of unparalleled excitement and entertainment for our fans."
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"Our foundation for the future now is in place. It is the mandate of this new partnership, achieved at enormous cost, to reconnect with our fans and refocus the spotlight where it belongs: on the ice, on the beauty and the skill of our remarkable game and on the world's best professional athletes."
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"We will return with a modified shield, with a new 'look' on the ice and a new outlook off it, and we will return this game to our fans with a promise: We will do everything in our power to be the best we can be and to earn your continued devotion. This was a terrible time for everyone associated with the game. We will do everything we can to make it up to you."
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"The greatness of hockey, and the NHL, is best measured by the character and commitment of our players. The greatness of our game is best reflected by the character and commitment of our fans. We appreciate the patience and the support they have shown through this difficult time. It's time our fans had some fun again, and our objective is to give them all they can handle."
It's a tribute to him, and everything he's done and deserved is coming to fruition tonight with his jersey in the rafters. He's going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And I said today, if he's not, take my stuff out. If he doesn't deserve to be in there first ballot, no one does. Except for (Wayne) Gretzky, I guess.