NHL commissioner Gary Bettman likes what he sees as he makes his first visit to Rogers Place.
“This is best of class. One of the things that I marveled at was I can see features from other new arenas in here. I can see features that I’ve never seen before,” Bettman said Tuesday afternoon in the Oilers Hall of Fame Room. “You see how it flows. You see the different ways you can experience the game because of all the different seating features.”
Bettman believes two of the NHL’s marquee events will land in Edmonton soon, but not quite yet.
“I believe we should have a draft here. I believe we should have an all-star game here. But I would like to see the entire Ice District complete because when we do that and we show off Edmonton and the Ice District to the world, I’d like it to be done,” Bettman explained.
Bettman was involved in the Rogers Place negotiations, at times serving as a go-between for Oilers owner Daryl Katz and then-Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel.
“If I served a useful function, I think I kept the lines of communication open. I made sure that they understood each other,” Bettman recalled. “I think because everybody was committed ultimately to the same long range vision, what was good for Edmonton, the pieces were able to come together.” (jrw)
Here are Bettman’s full comments from Wednesday afternoon: