Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

NHLPA meetings Bettman, players discuss drug testing

  • Print
LAS VEGAS -- After waiting 16 years to make an appearance at the NHLPA's player meetings, Gary Bettman needed a little extra time to get his point across.

The NHL commissioner spoke for almost two hours on Saturday morning -- more than double the time he was originally allotted. He began with an address to the roughly 110 players in attendance and faced questions on a range of topics.

Everyone seemed satisfied after Bettman's first-ever visit to these meetings.

"It was a big move on his part to come in here," said Detroit Red Wings defenceman Chris Chelios, often a critic of the commissioner. "It was a respectful meeting. We weren't going to do anything that was unprofessional. It took a lot for him to go out of his way and address the players.

"I just wish we had 700 guys in here to listen to him."

The commissioner spoke about the business of the sport and fielded questions from guys like Chelios, Robyn Regehr, Georges Laraques, Manny Malhotra and Kevin Weekes.

There was a time during Bettman's reign when a meeting like this would never have happened. However, NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly thinks it's important to keep an open dialogue with the league.

"In our business we have to strike the balance between working together in a professional, constructive manner and digging in to represent our respective sides," said Kelly. "My view is that we should be talking to each other, we should be listening to each other.

"I thought it was important for Gary to come to the players' meetings to share with the players whatever he wished to share with them and also to respond to tough questions."

An interesting issue for the sides to work out moving forward is the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Bettman is in favour of adopting the World Anti-Doping Agency's long list of banned substances and wants to see testing conducted all year.

The players discussed the issue on Saturday and seem to be split on what to do.

While none of them think there is a problem in the sport, there are a lot of things to consider before adopting a new policy.

"In the drug-wtesting business, there are false positive (tests)," said Kelly. "We don't want guys' reputations or careers to be ruined by those instances. There has to be a mechanism to corroborate what appears to be a positive test."

Another issue that came up with Bettman is the league's U.S. television contracts. Many players would prefer the league to strike a deal with ESPN, but the commissioner remains committed to Versus and NBC.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 21, 2009 C3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: NDP Self-Destruction

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 070619 LIGHTNING ILLUMINATES AN ABANDONED GRAIN ELEVATOR IN THE VILLAGE OF SANFORD ABOUT 10PM TUESDAY NIGHT AS A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS PASSED NEAR WINNIPEG JUST TO THE NORTH OF THIS  SITE.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the Jets best defenceman so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google