I’m not sure if you’ve heard this or not, but not everyone loves Gary Bettman. The anger and frustration so many fans feel while hockey continues to not be played has to be directed somewhere, and the current commish has willingly made himself the target, taking the heat off, well, almost everyone and everything else.

Few public figures can be the object of so much scorn and keep their position for too long, so some day, somewhere down the road, Gary Bettman will hang up his commishing boots, take his shmillions of dollars, and go do whatever the hell it is that he likes to do in his spare time (skin kittens?).

So, given that yesterday was election day (yay/boo your guy won/lost!), we here at Backhand Shelf figured it’d be a good day to asses who would be the most popular replacement in the eyes of us, the fans.

The candidates:

Brian Burke

His Wikipedia page tells his story pretty clearly:

After graduating, Burke became an NHL player agent. In 1987, he was hired by Pat Quinn to be the Director of Hockey Operations for the Vancouver Canucks. In the 1992–93season, he left that job to become General Manager of the Hartford Whalers. Burke stepped down[4] after one year in Hartford, so he could join the NHL front office as executive vice president and director of hockey operations, under league commissioner Gary Bettman.

Plenty of ties – that resume is basically a homerun for the office of NHL commissioner (I have to believe he’s already more involved than we know he is in League affairs). He’s been on both sides of the League, knows the inner-workings of the business side, and is plenty smart enough. To top it all off, he wouldn’t pansify (that’s a word today) up our NHL. Truculence!

Bill Daly

The current Number Two at the NHL, Daly has been Bettman’s right-hand man for long enough that he knows exactly how things work, for better or worse. He’s had the ultimate internship for the position, has seen which strings to pull when, and the fact that he’s currently moving along the CBA negotiations is another feather in his cap (assuming they get it done). Also, he scares me for some reason, so I had to include him.


Brendan Shanahan

Shanny has experience as a player, and has recently been climbing the front office ranks of the NHL, currently serving as the league’s Vice President of Hockey and Business Development and head disciplinarian. The role he’s taken over isn’t an easy one, and much like the head of NFL discipline, he’s in favour of keeping the game rough and tumble. If that’s what the NHL wants – and it likely does, as they quietly know some violence sells – then he’s done everything they’ve asked of him, and could keep moving up the ladder.


Ken Holland

Any time you have an organization that’s only known success, you have to find the common thread. Here’s your reason. The Red Wings executive has kept Detroit at the top of the “best organizations in hockey list” with his even temperament and smart decisions. He’s a thoughtful, intelligent dude that I think would be a great fit for the role.


Mike Murphy

Murphy is currently the senior vice president of hockey operation for the NHL, and has a long history with the league. He’s been a player (556 points, all-star game included), he’s been a coach with the Kings, Canucks, Senators, Rangers, and Maple Leafs, and has been in the NHL front office for awhile now (you know him from a controversial call in the 2010 playoffs). That resume might be enough to get him the job.



Ron MacLean

Ha, okay, not happening, the NHL probably hates him. STILL: if this were a fan vote, I wouldn’t brush him aside too quickly. He’s got plenty of experience dealing with the league, he’s been a ref, he’s a smart guy…Okay I can’t even talk myself into this one.



Lou Lamiorello

 If we found some leaked emails in the next few days that said Lou has been secretly running the league all these years anyway, you’d be zero percent shocked. He’s already heavily consulted by the League, and has been in the game since he was a fallen angel and launched the successful, always-growing business, Hell.


Bobby Orr

This one’s not happening for the sheer reason that Orr would never want the job (though the pay has to be pretty enticing). But he’s A) a beloved public figure, B) been involved in the game all his life and C): been in the player agent business since 1996, and is now president of the Orr Hockey Group agency that currently represents 30 active NHLers.


If you have any other suggestions as to who would be a good candidate (David Stern is free, I hear. Maybe some young savvy businessman? Or, gasp, businessWOman??), leave it in the comments, and click “other.” Let’s see who fans would most like to see take over the very difficult office Gary Bettman currently sits in.