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NHL Commissioner Bettman wishes fans a happy reopening day

Good day of reopening to all.

If you love the game the way I do it, and I imagine it does, this day may not come fast enough – and noon ET cannot come fast enough.

Our game – the biggest game in the world, played by the best athletes in the world for the most coveted trophy in the world – is back on the ice. We start with hurricanes and rangers and then we leave for what will be undeniably unprecedented and incredibly electrifying.

142 days have passed since I made an announcement that I never imagined I would make and I hope that no NHL Commissioner will ever have to do it again. During those 142 days, as our games stopped, the world has changed. And we had to change with it.

Working with our players to develop not only a Return to Play plan that would respond to the challenge of a pandemic, but also an extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, required us to think and act in completely new ways. But just as importantly, the killing of George Floyd and the consequent demand for justice and equality that swept our countries inspirationally, required us to accept that what we have done at this point is not enough. So we must and will do more and be better to make our game a welcoming place for everyone.

During the pause of our season I was often asked why we didn̵

7;t give up on the search to end the 2019-20 season and simply move on to the next season. One reason is that our players wanted to finish what they started – and were willing to make huge personal sacrifices to do it. But another reason – the most important reason – is that you, our fans, told us you wanted us to see him and crown a Stanley Cup champion.

Amid the excitement at finally dropping the disc again this afternoon, we were all a bit empty because you can’t be in the stands. But while COVID-19 makes us powerless to do anything for now, we are committed to ensuring that what you see looking at home is the best Stanley Cup playoff we’ve ever had.

I thank you for your patience. I thank you for your passion.

Take care. Stay healthy. And enjoy it.

Gary Bettman

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