Gary Bettman wins Sports Executive of the Year Award, cracks joke in acceptance speech

The NHL won three awards at the 2014 Sports Business Awards in New York last night, including commissioner Gary Bettman winning his first executive of the year award. Tell us what you think about that, hockey fans.

The 2014 Sports Business Awards took place at New York’s Marriott Marquis in Manhattan last night and the NHL – and its commissioner – were big winners.

The league won three awards: Sports League of the Year, Sports Executive of the Year and Sports Event of the Year. The awards show, hosted by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily, honor “excellence in sports business for the period from March 1, 2013-Feb. 28, 2014. The half season lost to the lockout? A distant memory.

The sports event the NHL was awarded for was the 2014 Winter Classic at the Big House at the University of Michigan, which set an attendance record at 105,491. It was the second time the league won this category, previously winning in 2009 for the first Winter Classic in Buffalo.

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The league also won the Sports League of the Year for a second time, previously winning in 2011.

Gary Bettman won his first Sports Executive of the Year Award, beating out Fox Sports President and COO Randy Freer, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, Under Armour CEO and founder Kevin Plank, and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.

And in his acceptance speech, Bettman showed a side of himself we rarely see: his humor.

“It’s almost an out of body experience because this time of year I’m normally presenting a trophy and getting booed. To receive one and get applause is really quite novel.”

Tell us, hockey fans, what do you think of the NHL commissioner winning an executive of the year award?

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