Gary Bettman’s reign as NHL commissioner appears as though it will continue on into the next decade.
According to a report from Hall of Fame scribe Michael Farber, Bettman has signed a contract extension that will keep him in his current post through 2022.
Bettman has been commissioner of the NHL since Feb. 1, 1993 when he was hired from the National Basketball Association. Bettman was the NBA’s senior vice-president and general counsel before moving over to the NHL. He became the league’s first commissioner after replacing Gil Stein, who was its last president.
Should Bettman fulfill the terms of his extension, he would rank as one of the longest-serving first-in-commands in professional sports history.
His new deal takes him months shy of his 30th anniversary as commissioner. Sportsnet’s John Shannon notes that NHL president Clarence Campbell worked one year longer. Bettman’s former NBA boss David Stern was commissioner for exactly 30 years when he stepped down in February 2014.
Under Bettman’s watch, the NHL has expanded to 30 teams from 24 and more could be on the way. The league is reviewing applications for new franchises in Las Vegas and Quebec City, although he noted repeatedly Saturday there is no timeline on a decision. NHL players have also participated in the Olympics since 1998 and outdoor games went from a trial event to becoming commonplace.
However, he has governed during three lockouts, including the one that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season. The NHL and NHLPA both have the option of opting out of the current collective bargaining agreement before the start of the 2019-20 season.