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Gary Bettman visits Rogers Place

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman visited Rogers Place for his first time on Tuesday

by Paul Gazzola /

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman was welcomed Rogers Place for his first time on Tuesday.

The commissioner had much to say about ICE District, its impact on the city of Edmonton and the state of the NHL.

Read his opening comments below or watch his question and answer period.

Video: RAW | Bettman Q and A

"It's great to be here to see how the ICE District is progressing. This arena is nothing short of phenomenal. As you all know, I was intimately involved with Daryl Katz and the mayor as this was on the drawing board. I knew that there was a great vision for what this arena would be and what the ICE District would represent for Edmonton but seeing it, and I had been here when it was under construction, but seeing it finished, the arena that is, it's nothing short of phenomenal. The way it's been put together, it's been ingeniously created and crafted. It's got every amenity imaginable. The finishing touches, the way the building flows, the sight lines… incredible. I can't say enough good things about it and it's a testament to Daryl and his organization to what they've accomplished here. And when you see the entire ICE District, I think this has been and will be transformational for Edmonton for decades to come. That speaks well not just as a home for the Oilers but as to the quality of life in Edmonton moving forward."

 Video: RAW | Gary Bettman Opening Remarks 

"So, it's very exciting to see, it's rewarding to see and it's a little bit of fun to watch the team perform better than it has in its last few years. I don't know, maybe someone would say there's a connection between the two. Competitively, if playoffs opened today I think seven teams that weren't in the playoffs (last year) would be in the playoffs. And while everybody was suggesting that there was nothing but doom and gloom for the Canadian teams in the NHL last year, lo and behold if the playoffs start now, five of the seven Canadian teams would be in the playoffs. That's what you get year-to-year when you have the incredible competitive balance that we do. The state of the League is strong; our franchises have never been stronger and the game is exciting, competitive and entertaining and that's what we want to provide our fans night in and night out."

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