Something truly special happened in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was greeted with cheers rather than boos.
That's because he was honoring the late Founder of the Flyers, Ed Snider, during "A Celebration of a Legend" that took place at the Wells Fargo Center.
Bettman followed heartfelt speeches from Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, as well as the original President of Comcast Sportsnet Jack Williams. One humorous story worth noting that followed Bettman's involved Snider kicking Donald Trump out of his suite for talking too much.
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The scene of Bettman's tale, told to illustrate Snider's love of hockey, was a Flyers-Rangers playoff game in Philly back in the 1990s in which the Rangers were "hooking and holding" the whole game -- a game that was "not decided on the basis of skill."
Bettman was in attendance. The Rangers won 1-0 and Mr Snider was obviously irate.
"The game ends and I'm trying to get out of town as quickly as possible," Bettman says. "My wife, the kids, and I leave the building and get into the car. I'm just about to get out of the parking lot when I see there's a car blocking the exit. Looked like a police car with flashing lights. It was arena security. The drive gets out, comes over to me and says, ‘Mr. Snider wants to see you… NOW.'"
Bettman gets escorted back into the building to face Snider.
"Do you really want the games played like that?" Snider asks him.
"I stood there for about 20 minutes before I was permitted to answer the question because there was a good amount of animated gesticulation going on, none of it by me."
Bettman's family was apparently watching the whole ordeal through the windows.
"By the time I got back to the car, I couldn't tell whether [my family] was amused or horrified. Probably both."
"I start the car, parking lot is virtually empty. Before we start moving a very drunk individual threw himself across the hood of my car and douses us with beer. Ed tells me it was a Rangers fan."
Towards the end of his thoughtful remarks, Bettman commented on the building he was standing in.
"This has always been a loud building and Ed's voice was always the loudest."