Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wayne Gretzky's Suggestions in 1990

First let me say, reading Wayne Gretzky's autobiography, it should be a lesson to anyone on the importance of school. Terrible, terrible English and vocabulary. Finishing high school at the minimum is essential. Anyways, below Wayne Gretzky highlights his suggestions if he was the NHL Commissioner (Page 214-217).

1) End the Fighting. Make it illegal. Period. If you fight, you're out of the game

2) Expand. The NHL is going into the San Francisco area next year. Great. Now expand to Seattle, Houston, and maybe Milwaukee.

3) Rename the Conferences. It's parochial to call them the Wales Conference and the Campbell Conference....We have enough trouble trying to explain the blue line to people. Just call them East and West.

4) Realign the Conferences. Everybody wants to blame the president, John Ziegler, for the NHLs problems, but he's pretty good. The trouble is that some of the owners always do what's best for their own team, not the game. For instance, the lineup of the conferences is ridiculous, but it's set up so that Toronto and Chicago are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs. What should be done is put 10 teams in one conference, and 11 in the other. As it is now, we play teams in our own conference eight times - which is way too many - and the other teams 3 teams. The new way, we'd play them 6 and 3, respectively. More people would see more players and therefore build interest. Forget the divisons. Keep the playoffs the same and eventually have two conference winners play the Stanley Cup.

5) Bring on Free Agency. Why shouldn't we fight for it? Free agency hasn't hurt any other professional sport. It's only helped baseball. Now football is getting it. Look at the Green Bay Packers. They rebuilt their team mostly from Plan B free agents. If the players wanted to strike for it, I'd strike. The fans don't know it, but it'd be th best thing for the game

6) Institute a week-off plan. By the end of February, the players are so spent that the fans and the owners don't get out of us all they could. The owners have us running all over the country doing exhibition games before the season, then the All-Star game (which now includes an extra day of ''skills'' competition and if you don't don't participate in the skills, you can't play the game) halfway through the season, then the playoffs at the end of the season. That's over 100 days of hockey sometimes. How many years does that take off your career? Give the players a break! Give each time 5 consecutive days off (not counting travel days) in January or February. You never have more than two teams taking the time off at once, so you don't have to shut down anything. The league just keeps right on going. When the players come back, they're playing better and everybody is getting their money's worth.

7) Let the Players make the Rules. In the NHL, the people making the rules usually never played the game. For instance, the league sneaked through a rule that let only ''offficial suppliers'' logos appear on the skates, sticks, and gloves we use. ....blah blah blah

8) Pay the refs more. The top referee in the entire league makes something like $85,000. An everyday linesman makes $30,000. If you want the best refereeing, you've got to pay the price. I mean, would you want to break up those fights.

9) Bring Back ESPN. When the NHL chose Sports Channel America over ESPN, it was another decision by the league to choose the quick bucks over the long term effects. Sure, we got more money from Sports Channel, but how much did we lose in exposure? Who sees Sports Channel anyways? I'll tell you who, only 1 in 10 U.S. Homes, that's who. ESPN, who had bought NHL rights before the Sports Channel outbid them, goes into 51 million homes. Obviously the NHL's decision was based upon what was better for the owner's pocketbooks, not what was better for the game. What a shocker.

10) Let us play in the Olympics. ...Any Questions


Some excellent thoughts and ideas, but clearly not a guy you can hand over the commissioner title position.

Other notable commentary in his Autobiography
- His best friends were Mess and Kevin
- He has little to no respect for Pocklington
- He mentions that some of the hockey players tried drugs back in the day. He's proud of the fact he's never tried any of them - at least that's what he says.
- He boned Janet and got her pregnant 4 and a half months before marriage.

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