Bettman: Teams to face 'severe discipline' for not reporting incidents
Gary Bettman is shedding some light on what the NHL plans to do to address inappropriate behavior by its coaches and those involved in the game.
On Monday after the league's Board of Governors meetings in California, the commissioner laid out the initial steps the NHL will take in the wake of a series of revelations that have resulted in Bill Peters' resignation from the Calgary Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks' investigation into assistant coach Marc Crawford.
Bettman said NHL clubs are on notice that they must immediately advise the league office if they become aware of an incident involving league personnel that is "clearly inappropriate, unlawful, or demonstratively abusive," or if they're made aware of an incident that may violate the NHL's policies on or off the ice.
"There will be zero tolerance for any failure to notify us and in the event of such failure, the club and individuals involved can expect severe discipline," he added.
Bettman said inappropriate conduct by club personnel "will be disciplined, either by the team, the league, or both," and that the discipline has to be severe to ensure the conduct doesn't happen again.
The commissioner also announced the league will institute a mandatory annual program on counseling, consciousness-raising, education, and training on diversity and inclusion. The program will be required for all head coaches, minor-league bench bosses under contract with NHL clubs, assistant coaches, general managers, and assistant general managers.
Bettman explained that the program's structure will be created by outside professionals and that the league will consult with the NHLPA to determine the extent that it should be presented to the players.
Lastly, the NHL will create a platform - "perhaps a hotline," according to Bettman - on which incidents of inappropriate conduct connected to the league can be reported either anonymously or for attribution.
In November, former NHLer Akim Aliu revealed Peters hurled the N-word at him multiple times when the two were with the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate in 2009-10. Former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan also said Peters kicked him and punched another player in the head during a game when Peters was behind the bench in Carolina.
Following Bettman's remarks Monday night, Aliu tweeted that he was pleased to see the commissioner taking action. Aliu met with Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly at the NHL offices last week, after which the former player said he was optimistic about the coming changes.
Chicago is investigating Crawford following an allegation by former enforcer Sean Avery that the former NHL head coach kicked him during a game while the two were with the Los Angeles Kings in 2006.