Bettman on digital board ads, salary cap, Ryan Reynolds and more

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the league’s new digital board ads are a “non-issue” for fans. (Getty)

The NHL’s board of governor meetings wrapped up on Tuesday, and with it came another (not so) enthralling and informative Gary Bettman media availability.

Although he did not dive into many details, as is often the case with the commissioner’s pressers, Bettman did touch on several issues including the salary cap, digital board ads, the Ottawa Senators ownership race, the league’s Hockey Canada investigation and more.

Here’s what you need to know.

Salary cap projected to rise to $1M next season

Confirming what Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported earlier in the fall, the cap is only set to rise about $1 million (from $82.5 to $83.5 million) for the 2023-24 season to the players still owing some escrow. Bettman did add that revenue could exceed the league’s current projections and result in a sharper than expected increase in the cap for next season.

Per Friedman and Rory Boylen’s report in September, general managers from across the NHL were preparing for a “sharp rise” in the league’s salary cap (around $10 million) over the next few seasons.

Bettman claims new digital board adds a “non-issue” for fans

Those (annoying) new digital board ads have been a source of frustration for viewers though the first part of the NHL season, but Bettman doesn’t see an issue with the league’s new marketing method.

“The polling we do with our fans gives us the feedback that it’s a non-issue. Many think it looks better than having the numerous logos on the dasher boards. It’s working extraordinarily well,” Bettman said, per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.

“If what you’re doing is just watching the dashboards — which I guess if you’re reporting on it, you might do — then it may be a distraction. If you’re watching the game, it’s not a distraction,” the commissioner added.

Ryan Reynolds, Ottawa Senators ownership update

Bettman confirmed that he and deputy commissioner Bill Daly have reached out to — and met with — star Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds about being involved in the new Ottawa Senators ownership group.

Bettman added that the bidding process for the franchise is going well so far, with lots of interested suitors throwing their hats in the ring. Bettman added that more than a dozen parties have signed NDAs to “receive access to the ‘data room’ to analyze Ottawa Senators’ books,” per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.

It’s been reported that the NHL would want Ryan Reynolds included in the deal no matter which group or individual ends up purchasing the club.

Hockey Canada investigation, workplace training moving slowly

The NHL is taking their sweet time investigating Hockey Canada and how the governing body mishandled a gang sexual assault allegation from 2018 involving several members of Canada’s world junior squad. Bettman confirmed the league is still chipping away at it, but added it’s getting close to wrapping it up.

The NHL is also moving pretty slowly on something as basic as “respect in the workplace training” in this, the year 2022, with executive VP Kim Davis saying that “68 percent of American teams” have completed the training to this point.

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