Insider trading: Bettman to hold talks with Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government


TSN Hockey insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun joined remotely with host James Duthie to discuss whether the NHL has contacted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding a possible resumption of game, sources of revenue for the league if it were to return without fans, and potentially grim news for next season at the college level.

Has Bettman ever spoken to Trudeau?

We know that Gary Bettman and other major sports commissioners have spoken to US President Donald Trump about the recovery of the sport. But what about north of the border?

Integrated imageDreger: Well, this has been the plan for a while. He did not speak directly with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but he was in contact with the Prime Minister’s Office last week, and it is expected that Bettman will meet with the chief of staff in the very near future, and then after there will be an intention to communicate directly with Prime Minister Trudeau. Now, among the topics of discussion, we have certainly learned that after the conference call with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, the tests available – especially for sports teams – are a topic of conversation and, in a certain measure, of concern. Now, there are a number of options under development that may be available to promote optimism at least within the National Hockey League. So we might see regular tests if or when hockey resumes. But at the end of the day, it will be up to the doctors and medical authorities to decide.

Income streams from potentially playing in empty buildings

If the NHL returns to end the 2019-2020 season, it will likely be without fans present. How does this have a financial impact on the league?

Integrated imageThe brown: One question that I get a ton late is why even finish the season if there are no fans in the building given that we are still talking about how the NHL is a portal league? And that’s a great question. I got an answer today. I mean, there is other income to be made here. In fact, both from a national media revenue perspective, the NHL’s deals, as well as sponsorships, which are dedicated and paid for during the playoffs, total between $ 400 million and $ 500 million between these deals with the media, television agreements and sponsorship if the playoffs are actually played. So it’s certainly not insignificant if you’re a player or an owner and you’ve finished the season. Now, the idea of ​​ending the season, given what we’re going through, I think everyone on this panel has read their mentions in the past two weeks when we talk about all of the different scenarios. So I put it on a Twitter poll because I think we are all sensitive to what different people are thinking right now. And I asked specifically, if there is hockey from July to August without fans in the building, are you in favor, yes or no? And the crowd yes was 59%, the crowd no 41%. Over 62,000 people responded to the survey over a 24-hour period. Which means it’s not unanimous in the sense that it’s going to please everyone. I think there are a lot of concerns about hockey this summer, but the majority of hockey fans still want it to happen.

What’s new with NCAA hockey?

Most people think of the NHL first when the topic of resuming hockey comes up, but what about college? This season has already been canceled. Is next season also in trouble?

Integrated imageMcKenzie: In the United States, there is a lot of concern about college athletics in general and that would certainly be the case for NCAA hockey fans for next season. Now, what we have heard over the past week is that many American colleges and universities say they are not planning to open their campuses [the] the student body until 2021. There was a call on Wednesday between the commissioners and heads of various college football conferences who were on the line with Vice President Mike Pence of the United States. And while the Trump administration is really pushing for as many sports to connect as quickly as possible, the message that these college football commissioners and conference officials have given Pence was, listen, if our schools are closed, if there are no facilities available and there are no students on campus, then there is no college football season. And that would certainly extend to the NCAA hockey season. If the campuses are closed for the rest of 2020, then NCAA hockey will not take place in 2021 unless they find a way to do it properly in 2021.


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