NEW YORK -- The NHL's ability to leverage technology to enhance fan experience, engagement and growth was at the forefront of a panel discussion involving NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and former New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter at the Paley Center for Media on Wednesday.

"It's not just being about relevance, it's about fans engaging in ways that they haven't been able to before," Bettman said following the 30-minute session that was part of Day 2 of the Paley International Council Summit 2023. "It's making sure that the connection fans have with their sport is as great as it can be and at the same time figuring out new connections which will engage existing fans in more ways and will bring new fans to the game. Nothing in this world is standing still. You have to be moving forward otherwise you will fall back."

The panel discussion "How the NHL is Engaging Fans and Reaching New Ones" was moderated by Aryeh B. Bourkoff, a business executive and Paley board member who is the founder and CEO of LionTree LLC.

Bourkoff said during the discussion that he has a 19-year-old daughter who is a hockey goalie and asked Bettman how the landscape for growing the NHL has changed.

Bettman talked about how the NHL is constantly working to evolve -- including with changing demographics -- to connect with younger and new audiences while remaining true to the traditions of the game that longtime fans revere.

He brought up the League's affiliation with Roblox and partnering with The Disney Channel and its show "Big City Greens" for a real-time live animated broadcast of a game between the Washington Capitals and Rangers last season.

Bettman also emphasized the League's puck and player tracking and the new website dedicated to it,, that gives fans access to some data that previously was available only to teams and broadcasters and some that is new.

"We don't change the game to suit the technology," Bettman said. "We try to figure out what technology can bring people closer to the game."

Richter credited the NHL with keeping the "character and integrity" of the game strong while marrying in the technological advancements.

He said the League has struck the right balance between promoting players and allowing them to promote and be their own brands while also making sure it remains the ultimate team sport.

"In the locker rooms, the 700-odd players that are playing, it's sacrosanct to keep the character and integrity of the sport," Richter said. "To market to a new generation of kids and to engage them -- to have that balance and not change the game, but change the technology to enhance people's understanding to the character and deep devotion of the game is a really difficult thing to do."

After the panel discussion ended, Richter said that NHL players themselves are reluctant to shine the light on themselves the way players in other sports do because the ethos of the game has always been about team.

"Look at how humble Sidney Crosby has been, Mario Lemieux before him and Connor McDavid is now," Richter said. "These are true superstars but they're saying, 'I'm spreading it around.'"

Richter said technology has allowed fans to feel attached to players, which has fostered positive growth in individualism within the team concept.

"It's kind of come to a good equilibrium in the League because you still have access to these guys but it's in an authentic way," Richter said.

Said Bettman, "Younger players are Gen Z themselves and are responding. We're encouraging it and old-school general managers getting used to it and even embracing it saying, 'It's OK to be out there on social media.' Fans, particularly younger fans, want to know more than just how may goals you scored, how many assists you had, how many saves you made. They want to know what kind of car you drive? Where do you workout? What's your routine like? What do you eat? What movies do you like? What music do you like? That's all part of putting yourself out there. Players have been embracing it and the teams have as well."