A former NHL executive says Bettman is not in good shape, but he would be willing to do an interview for a role in the league.
In a recent interview with CBC, Bob Murray, the former NHLPA executive director, said Bettman needs to be more assertive.
“He needs to take responsibility,” Murray said.
“You know, if he thinks he’s not in a good shape anymore, then he needs to come out and say, ‘Look, I’m in a bad place, and it’s not because of you.'”
Murray was asked if he was confident Bettman would return to the league, which is in talks with NBC to host an interview.
Bettman has not responded to requests for comment.
“I think he has a very strong foundation, a very solid foundation, but the fact is, he has been in charge for almost 10 years,” Murray told CBC.
“It’s not just the NHL.
It’s all sports.”
Murray, who also served as the NHLPA’s chief operating officer, said he was shocked by Bettman’s comments.
“To me, it’s a little bit shocking that he’s saying this and then then to go on and say this after what he’s done in his life,” Murray explained.
Murray has been a frequent critic of Bettman.
The former NHL general manager was criticized in 2014 when he was forced to resign amid allegations of financial improprieties, which he denies.
In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek in November 2014, Murray said he would retire from the NHL if Bettman didn’t come back.
Murray was replaced as the executive director of the NHL Players Association in November 2015 after he refused to return a $50,000 payment to the union, which was not disclosed by the league until after Murray was fired.
Murray did not respond to CBC News’ request for comment from his office.
“As a former general manager of the National Hockey League, I had the opportunity to work closely with Gary Bettson, and I know that he is a man of great integrity, but it’s time for him to make a decision about his future in this league and in his position in the world of business,” Murray was quoted as saying by Bloomberg Business.
Murray said Bettmen should have told his wife, Lori, that he was sick and asked her to come pick him up at a hospital.
“When he was first diagnosed, it took some time to get his feet under him, and he didn’t want to go to the hospital and have his feet cut off,” Murray added.
“And then he went in the hospital for five weeks, but then he had a very good recovery.”
Bettman was appointed commissioner in January 2016 and has been the league’s executive vice president since May 2016.
Murray says Bettmen is a good leader, but that he needs “to have a better voice” in the organization.
Murray’s remarks came after the NHL released a statement that said Bettmann has not asked for an interview yet.
“Gary is an outstanding person with a strong foundation in public service, but in recent weeks, he appeared to be in poor health and he has not yet offered an interview to the media,” NHL spokesman Scott Gomez said in a statement.
“We hope that his health can improve and we look forward to a productive conversation with Gary and his family.”
Murray says he has no plans to return to public life and has no interest in becoming a political candidate.
Murray also said that Bettman and the NHL should have worked together before he was fired to get the franchise back in the fold.
Murray is now working as a lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers.