Friday, January 4, 2013

Gary Bettman, the $8 million man?

The Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) for 2010 filed by the National Hockey League is a 40-page document and a tad interesting for those curious about Big Hockey which finds itself mired in another Big Lockout. 

The league reported $378,926,644 in assets and liabilities on this form, which says its mission is to "perpetuate professional hockey in the United States and Canada." (Note to Canadians: this is your beloved sport, but Canada comes second in the collective mind of the NHL.)

Commissioner Gary Bettman received $4,628,853 compensation from the NHL and $3,354,900 from related organizations. That's $7,983,753 combined. Compared to player compensation for the 2011-12 season, Bettman was paid more than Marian Hossa and less than Steven Stamkos. 

NHL related organizations are listed as: NHL Enterprises, NHL Enterprises Canada, NHL Network US, NHL World Cup of Hockey, 3918921 Canada and 3918939 Canada, NHL Network (Canada), NHL Interactive Cyber Ent., NHL Enterprises BV, NHL Coyotes Holding, Coyotes Newco, Arena Newco, CFV Holding, 3051349 Nova Scotia, Universal Ice Services, CFV 1 and CFV II

Bettman gets some of the same perks as the players. The form says "the Commissioner travels predominantly via a chartered plane. The other officers and key employees travel via a chartered plane occasionally… per the Commissioner's contract, he is permitted to use a charter plane for certain personal use, which is treated and included as a taxable benefit."

Bettman also received a $5 million loan from the NHL, approved by the board or committee. The balance due was listed as $1,071,428. 

Bettman is a lightning rod for criticism, mainly by Canadian hockey fans, but the form reinforces the fact that he serves at the pleasure of the 30 franchise owners. 
"The governing body reviews and approves compensation and the written employment contract of the Commissioner put forward as recommendation by the compensation committee."
It's also interesting what can be found in the small print. It says: "Part VI, Line 19 The National Hockey League's governing documents, financial statements and conflict of interest policies are made available to the public upon request."

Remember: if you're a hockey fan and this lockout makes you angry, you have the power to do something about it. Stop being a customer of the NHL and its entities. 

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