NHL Commish Gary Bettman Hints at League Shakeups

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media at the conclusion of the NHL’s Board of Governors’ annual meetings. Bettman teased some big changes to the league in the near future, the biggest of which would be an in-season international tournament.

Bettman began the discussion by briefly rattling through a number of conversations held over the past two days. Topics included a meeting with Fanatics founder Michael Rubin, as well as talks on artificial intelligence, emergency procedures, and “cut-resistant materials” to protect against skate injuries. He also teased plans for new “all-access” content from the league, although Bettman said an announcement was not imminent.

Strong Financials

According to Bettman, the NHL is expected to bring in around $6.2 billion in revenue this season. That would be the biggest year for the league in history. Bettman announced a second league record when he announced the league’s $4.2 million cap raise. The new $87.7 million salary cap would be the highest in league history, with the five percent increase representing the highest percent change since the 2018-2019 season.

Draft in the Sphere

Bettman announced the league is currently finalizing plans to hold the 2024 Draft in the Las Vegas Sphere. You can read our full write-up of the team’s plans.

The International Stage

International hockey was a major topic of discussion during the Board of Governors meeting. Bettman mentioned discussions between the NHL Player’s Association and the IIHF in an effort to “wrestle the arrangement for the Olympics to the ground.” According to the commissioner, construction has not begun on the arena needed for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan. He called it “a matter of concern” but emphasized how much the players want to play in the competition.

Bettman did, however, reveal that the league will be hosting in-season international locations in “multiple locations” that would act as “a preview of international best-on-best.” Bettman said that this would serve as an “appetizer” for the league’s plans to unveil a full World Cup in 2028, with the plan to alternate the World Cup and Olympics every two years.