After the NHL failed to properly punish Zdeno Chara for his blatantly illegal and injury-intending hit on Max Pacioretty (see: Zdeno Chara Hit on Max Pacioretty Was 100% Deliberate Intent To Injure...), Air Canada, one of the NHL's largest Canadian Sponsors, threatened to pull their sponsorship (see: See Air Canada's letter to the NHL), if something is not done to remedy this latest upward trend of career ending and life threatening head shots in the NHL.
Garry Bettman, resident douchebag and NHL Commissioner, arrogantly dismissed Air Canada like it was nothing, telling Air Canada that if it wants to pull its sponsorship, it should go right ahead.
Here's the story from the Toronto Star:
Pacioretty injury horrific but part of the game: Bettman
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says there’s no need to “over-legislate” head hits.
The issue has been front and centre this season, especially this week in the wake of Max Pacioretty being hospitalized with a severe concussion and fractured vertebra. The Montreal forward was slammed into a stanchion holding the glass at the Bell Centre on a hit by Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
The NHL subsequently elected not to suspend Chara.
“Our hockey operations people are extraordinarily comfortable with the decision that they made,” Bettman said. “It was a horrific injury, we’re sorry that it happened in our fast-paced physical game, but I don’t think whether or not supplemental discipline was imposed would change what happened and in fact the people in the game who I have heard from almost to a person ... believe that it was handled appropriately by hockey operations.”
The issue of head hits is expected to be raised again at a meeting of NHL general managers in Florida next week.
As for Air Canada threatening to pull its sponsorship over such injuries, Bettman says the league can find other carriers if the airline doesn’t want its business.
“Air Canada is a great brand, as is the National Hockey League, and if they decide they need to do other things with their sponsorship dollars that’s their prerogative, just like it’s the prerogative of our clubs that fly on Air Canada to make other arrangements if they don’t think Air Canada is giving them the appropriate level of service.”
With Bettman's response, Air Canada is pretty much left with no other option except to follow through on its threat, especially given the embarrassing nature of Bettman's comment.
I wonder how the Canadian NHL teams are going to feel about that, given that they receive a large amount of the Air Canada sponsorship dollars coming into the NHL. Oh wait, Bettman doesn't care about the Canadian teams in the NHL... Oh, yeah...
PS: Violence in the game might be one thing, but intent to injure is a complete other.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gary_Bettman_Crop.jpg by captcanuk on Wikipedia
http://www.flickr.com/photos/62067745@N00/2060079247/sizes/l/ by WestendRaider on flickr