NHL Season Kicks Off With Bizarrely Comical Referee Monologue

Let's hope not every game has to open in this fashion


Oct 11, 2022

There’s nothing like a puck drop before a big game, but opening night of the 2022-23 NHL season brought the cringe to extreme levels.

Of course, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t struggle in that department, but the last thing you want from an exciting sport like hockey is to be seen as corny.

However, the head referee of the Tampa Bay Lightning versus New York Rangers game halted the game’s opening puck drop to send a message to the television audience.

“To our great players and our great fans, welcome to opening night of the 2022-23 NHL season,” Chris Rooney said, per Sportsnet video. “What’s better than this? Good luck to all players. Let’s have a great season.”

First of all, to be kind to Rooney, public speaking is a difficult task and the best of us would struggle with a camera in front of us in front of a national audience. But what was that?

This is not a regular NHL tradition, and it’s hardly something you see in other sports. The players didn’t seem to care for it, which would have been even funnier if all the players lined up in a “Kumbaya” moment on the ice. The nonchalant manner of “what’s better than this” just takes the cake of most cringey moment of the season, which had not even officially started yet when Rooney was making his monologue.

A nice cherry on top was ESPN broadcaster Sean McDonough calling Rooney “the best in the NHL.” It also brings up many questions.

Was Rooney asked to do this? Why was he asked to do this? Did the NHL think this was a good way to attract viewers? How much worse could this have been if Bettman was the one delivering this speech?

Bruins fans will have to wait until Wednesday to see if they will get welcomed into the season when Boston takes on the Capitals.

Thumbnail photo via Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports Images
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