Bettman's latest initiative comes at a time when sport is struggling with both its culture and a decline in popularity in Canada, the country of its birth.
Worry about head injuries of ice hockey at all levels, low diversity The costs are burdensome for parents and prospective players, and Canadians are now investing their time and money in other sports. Demographic and socio-economic trends in the country and in sports suggest that the decline is not expected to reverse.
This shift came into focus over the summer.
One million people in Toronto celebrated Canada's first N.B.A. Championship in the Raptors' victory parade, which relates to the racial, cultural and socio-economic diversity of the team reflects the whole country, Two months later, 7.4 million Canadians saw Bianca Andreescu on TV defeated Serena Williams Win the United States Open and become Canada's first individual tennis grand slam master.
In this N.H.L. This season, Canadians are well on their way to seeing their lowest number of visitors in more than 15 seasons. Ottawa's senators only sell 60 percent of their tickets. and the Flames, the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets often play in front of hundreds of empty seats, Only the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks have seen more visitors this season. (Not without reference: A Canadian team has not won the Stanley Cup since 1993.)
In the N.H.L. Draft in June, Only 69 of the 217 players selected, or 32 percent, were Canadians, the lowest total since the league expanded in 1969. Last season, N.H.L. Players who were Canadian were 43 percent, down from 59.6 percent in 2011-12. The N.H.L. is still almost exclusively white: Of the 999 players who played at least one game last season, 5 percent belonged to minorities. According to Statistics Canada, 22.3 percent of the population was colored in 2016.
Although more than 500,000 boys signed up for side hockey last year, the number of members of the Ontario Hockey Federation, the country's largest side hockey league, has decreased by 8.5 percent since the 2012/13 season. Hockey Québec, the second largest league, saw a 6.7 percent decline over the same period. According to Statistics Canada, the population of both provinces increased over the same period.