Gary Bettman, who as commissioner brought the NHL its first over-the-air television contract in 20 years--and also brought about its longest labor stoppage--was offered a contract extension Thursday by the league's Board of Governors during meetings at Palm Beach, Fla.
Bettman, formerly third in command at the NBA, was hired by the NHL in December, 1992, and became its first commissioner on Feb. 1, 1993. His original agreement was for five years at about $1 million per year.
Terms of the extension remain to be negotiated but Harley Hotchkiss, chairman of the Board of Governors, said the board intends to keep Bettman for the duration of the league's collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players Assn. That agreement, which ended a 103-day lockout invoked by Bettman last season, runs through the 1999-2000 season.
"We think the most important responsibility we face as governors is maintaining strong and stable leadership, and we think Gary Bettman has given us that," said Hotchkiss, chief executive officer of the Calgary Flames.