Below is a verbatim transcript of the Bettman press conference. I prefer to personally hear what is being said about important issues and to make my own verbatim transcript for reference. I did this often when I was on city council and made verbatim transcripts of the former mayor’s remarks as well as staffers and other councilmembers.
It begins with the end of Commissioner Bettman’s opening remarks. I have only transcribed those portions of the press conference relevant to the Coyotes issue but I have inserted time markers for unrelated reporters’ questions. The video is posted on many sites. I pulled it from the Coyotes team website.
Gary Bettman (GB): “Phoenix. No doubt we’ll get a question. Obviously, we’re getting to the point where some decisions are going to have to be made both by the City of Glendale and by us. I haven’t set a deadline but time is getting shorter. We’re looking forward to realignment for next season. We’re looking forward to the future. But as we look back on this season and take a deep breath before we look ahead to the Stanley Cup Final and then to next season, we find ourselves in a good, strong place. And we’re grateful to be there. And we’re grateful to be here with all of you. So, we’ll take your questions.”
4:55 Reporter question 1 (RQ 1): What preparations for stormy weather in Chicago?
6:20 RQ 2: Why is Olympic process dragging on so long?
7:52 RQ 3: Question about realignment, names of conferences, etc.
RQ 4: “Bill, you mentioned that Phoenix somewhat impacts the schedule being released. Does that mean or suggest the team won’t be playing there next year?”
Deputy NHL Commissioner
Bill Daly (BD): Yes. It’s certainly possible the team won’t play there next year. Look at the short strokes in Phoenix now. The ownership group we’ve negotiated a deal with has been negotiating with the City of Glendale. I think everybody knows kinda what’s on the table. I think the puck is pretty much in the City of Glendale’s end with respect to how they want to deal with that.”
RQ 5: “Just to go a little further on Phoenix. Time is short. How much time do you have left? Why not have a deadline at some point?”
GB: “No reason to. It’s been a complicated process. In our minds understand that we’re dealing with a time frame. But a specific day isn’t going to do it but time is getting short and as Bill said, this is really going to be a decision that the City of Glendale is going to have to make.”
9:27 RQ 6: Stanley Cup questions
RQ 7: “Bill or Gary, I’m sure you have a Plan B or even a Plan C for Phoenix. But if they’re not playing in Phoenix next year will Quebec City, might be a Plan B or Plan C for the league?”
GB: We’re still focused on making it work with the Coyotes staying in Arizona. I don’t wanna begin a process, particularly publicly, with, where there’s gonna be a lot of speculation where the team might go, if it moved because all that would do would be to unfairly raise expectation in places and I don’t want to do that to fans in these communities. So we’re just going to leave it that we’re still focused on the Coyotes in Arizona.”
10:52 RQ 8: how were revenue earnings in a shortened season?
11:21 RQ 9: officiating during the play offs
13:38 RQ 10: Original 6 final game?
14:42 RQ 11: despite loss of 42% of season is NHL impenetrable?
16:53 RQ 12: low scoring in playoff games
RQ 13: “Does the Phoenix issue affect realignment at all especially if they have to move somewhere?”
GB: “Since one’s hope is that they’re going to stay where they are it shouldn’t and if the team is forced to relocate then we’ll have a look at it and make a decision as to whether or not it is impacted.”
18:19 RQ 14: concessions
19:51 RQ 15: after lockout will there be better revenues in the future?
RQ 16: “Two questions on Phoenix that perhaps Bill could answer. If we understand that you’ve got an ownership in place who will only take control of the team once the city council of Glendale strikes a deal, it seems that we’re working off a timeline that is controlled by the city council of Glendale. Is that correct?”
GB: “No. I’ll answer the question. The answer is no. At some point we’re going to have to make a decision.”
BD: “In other words, delay could be a no decision. Or no decision could be a decision in this case. So they understand. There’s no misunderstanding with respect to when our time table is vis a vis the city of Glendale. They know what our decision time line is and what are the decisions we have to make. There’s no misunderstanding on the parties.”
RQ 17: “You’ve spoken of keeping the team there and relocation. Does a third option of having the franchise in hiatus exist?”
GB: “There are a myriad of options and we’re not prepared to engage in speculation as to what the optionality (sic) is. The focus, at least for the time being, remains on having the Coyotes in Arizona. Obviously, we’ll have lots of choices, options and decisions and at the time, if we get to that point, and hopefully we won’t, then we’ll focus on which one is the best.”
21:40 RQ 18: has a series with two of original 6 teams been achieved?
22:44 RQ 19: results of investigation into deaths of 2 NHL players
RQ 20: “Do you need a decision on Phoenix by the Board of Governors’ meeting on June 27th?”
GB: “Maybe. Are you trying to get me to set a deadline?”
RQ 21: “I’m just curious.”
GB: Listen. There’s a Board of Governors meeting on the 27th. There’s a city council meeting on June 28th.”
BD: “June 25th.”
GB: “I’m sorry. June 25th. Stuff’s gonna happen.”
24:10 RQ 22: world cup hockey
RQ 23: “Gary, question #15 on the Coyotes, if I may. You mentioned that you don’t want to make expectations in other places. Are there that many markets out there available that you could turn around and go to?”
GB: “There are a number of markets that have been expressing an interest to us over the years and the phone keeps ringing more regularly the longer that the Coyotes situation stays unresolved and based on the dates we just happened to talk about with the previous question, it’s causing the phone to ring even more.”
26:01 RQ 24: will acrimony of lockout be present and will GB present Stanley Cup?
26:28 RQ 25: will players participate in future world championship?
RQ 26: “If the phone is ringing about interest from other markets why is Phoenix still the best option for the NHL and can the franchise not just survive but thrive with new ownership?”
GB: “That’s a great question. So let me answer it in two parts. The first is, we try to avoid franchise relocation. We try to do everything possible. We don’t think it’s fair to fans and we don’t think it’s fair unless you have to move, to do it to communities that build you buildings. And so we’re not going to get involved in a bake-off where we’re gonna say, you know, we’d rather be here than there. We’re gonna try to preserve what’s in place. That’s what we’ve always done even when it’s resulted previously in franchise relocation. That only happens when we’ve exhausted all possibilities. We’ve now operated this club for about three years indirectly. We’ve had ownership of it. We’ve had great support by the people on the ground doing there. Mike Nealy and Donny Maloney in particular, have done a particularly strong job. We actually believe that if you gave the community an owner, not the league, who said, I’m committed to being here, this franchise could actively be successful from a business standpoint. We’ve seen what the fan base will do with all the uncertainty. We understand the dynamics from the business community and the broadcasters and the media and the people who buy suites and naming rights and all that stuff. If there was certainty surrounding this franchise its fortunes would improve dramatically and immediately just by virtue of putting in a real owner.”
BD: “No matter how this plays out I don’t think anybody can accuse us of a kind of grass is greener type approach to this. We’ve been committed to this market. We’ve done everything humanly possible to make this franchise work in this market. And now’s the time we’re gonna find out if that works.”
Glendale City Council
GB: “And again, when the obligation that we take so seriously, it starts with the fans and the community but for those of you who have been to the arena in Glendale, you know, I worry about what’s gonna happen to the arena if the team isn’t there. I think it’s likely to get boarded up because they’re not gonna have enough events to sustain it. I worry about what happens to Westgate and all the businesses and people who are employed there. I worry about the impact it may have on the football stadium, having a situation on its front steps that may not be ideal anymore and so we’re taking, we’ve taken all of those things into account over the last three years as we’ve tried to make it work. That’s why ultimately it’s up to the City of Glendale to make the decision that they think is in the best interest of their constituents and whatever they decide, we’ll abide by but ultimately whether or not this team stays at this point is their call.”
END OF PRESS CONFERENCE