NHL News Conference Live: Gary Bettman Offers Apology to Fans As Owners Ratify New CBA

Gary Bettman

4:26 p.m.: The commissioner went out of his way to say that he’s not going to discuss much of anything substantial right now.

“I’m not gonna review the process right now. This isn’t the right time to do it. … I don’t think it’s constructive for anybody to do that.”

4:24 p.m.: Bettman “can’t imagine” why any players wouldn’t return to the league from playing overseas during the lockout.

4:23 p.m.: Bettman’s message to the owners during the ratification meeting:

“This is a good deal, this is a fair deal, and in collective bargaining, not everybody gets what they want.”

4:22 p.m.: “Our expectation is that we want to get the schedule out as fast as humanly possible, but we don’t want to get it out until the CBA is ratified.”

4:21 p.m.: Bettman mentioned he read the tweets, read the blogs, etc. What did he learn from that?

“The prevailing thing is that our fans are incredibly passionate about our game. … Frankly, they didn’t care who was at fault, and they just wanted hockey back. … It’s my responsibility to them [as commissioner] to make them right.”

4:19 p.m.: Bettman says that reports or suggestions that he might be on his way out as commissioner is “unfounded speculation.”

4:18 p.m.: Bettman is asked how the league will attempt to get its fans back.

“That’s in the process of being worked on and announced at the appropriate time. There will be outreaches, campaigns, appropriate efforts that will be made clear as we get closer to dropping the puck.”

4:17 p.m.: Bettman believes the new agreement will allow every NHL team to be competitive, give them a chance to make the playoffs and even contend for the Stanley Cup.

4:16 p.m.: Bettman: “The National Hockey League has a responsibility to earn back your trust and “your support. … The wait is just about over.

4:15 p.m.: More from Bettman: “Long and extremely difficult negotiation, one that took a lot longer than anyone wanted.”

4:15 p.m.: Gary Bettman takes the podium.

“I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months, but I owe you an apology in the least.”

4:12 p.m.: In a twist, Bruins owner and head of board of governors, Jeremy Jacobs, takes the podium first.

“Hockey is back,” he declares.

“This great game has been gone far too long and for that we are sorry.”

He says the league is set to look ahead to benefit “the best sports fans in the world.”

Oh, and the new collective bargaining agreement was unanimously ratified by the owners.

4:09 p.m.: We weren’t 90 seconds away. Even better times.

4:06 p.m.: We’re 90 seconds away, and we’ve got a guy on crutches and a man in a camouflage hat in the picture. Good times.

3:55 p.m.: In just a few minutes we’ll hear from a man who is likely very relieved right this instance.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will address the media at 4 p.m. after Wednesday’s board of governors meeting where the new collective bargaining agreement was reportedly ratified by the NHL owners.

That continues the process of returning hockey to arenas across North America, as all that is now left is for the players to approve the new deal. Reports are indicating that will be done on Friday and Saturday, with training camps likely opening on Sunday.

NESN will carry Bettman’s 4 p.m. news conference live, and you can follow along right here, too.

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