Jesse Spector at the Sporting News feels that with the NHL and NHLPA more interested in blaming each other than negotiating a new CBA, a new hockey czar office should be created to revolutionize the way relations work between the NHL and NHLPA.
And who does Spector feel should head up this hockey czar office? Brendan Shanahan, of course…
“Shanahan would be what the public believes a commissioner should be: the person tasked with ensuring the future of the league and publicly accountable for what happens. What a commissioner really is, is Gary Bettman, a hard-edged negotiator who cares deeply about the game, but ultimately represents the owners, rather than the public trust—the reason, ostensibly, that Major League Baseball made Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis the first commissioner in sports in 1920. When athletes became unionized, the job changed forever, and it is time to finally recognize that.”
Spector adds that with the hockey czar office being funding by 1% of hockey related revenue, it would be beholden to neither the owners nor the players, and could make decisions that are in the interests of both parties and the fans.
During the 2004-05 lockout, Shanahan spearheaded a two-day summit in Toronto that brought together both sides of the disagreement to help lay out a plan for the post-lockout NHL.
…both sides have proved time and again that coming up with a new CBA is second to winning the PR war, so I like the out-of-the-box thinking by Spector here. Since neither the owners nor the players can be grown-ups about the situation, why not bring in an independent group who can.
…having said that, I’m not sure Shanahan is the guy to do it anymore. A lot of the shine has come off the former Ranger since being named head of the Department of Player Safety after numerous questionable suspensions and non-suspensions this past year. Plus I doubt the NHLPA would agree to appoint a member of the NHL hierarchy to run this new office.
…Wayne Gretzky anyone?