NEW YORK — The wayward negotiations between the NHL and its Players' Association took a surreal turn late Wednesday afternoon.
While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was addressing the media in New York — a surprise, as it was believed NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly would be the man to speak on behalf of the league — he was confronted by an angry fan who bombarded him with combative questions.
Jaymes Hall, 41, a disgruntled Flyers fan from Lancaster, camouflaged himself with members of the media before unleashing on Bettman.
“Why not freeze the revenue generated from those sources that are still in dispute?” he screamed. “What about an escrow account or something so we can get back to playing? Let's get back to playing! The fans are angry!”
At this point, a reporter asked a question only to be interrupted again by Hall.
Bettman, who has overseen three labor stoppages in less than 20 years on the job, then addressed the fan.
“Excuse me one second,” Bettman said. “I'm in the middle of a media scrum. I'd be happy to talk to you when we're done. You're not credentialed media. I think it's unfortunate and unfair to these people.”
Hall responded: “I'm a fan!”
Snapped Bettman: “I know you're a fan. I'd be happy to talk with you.”
Bettman was good on his word. When he finished his 10-minute news conference, he walked directly toward Hall, and the two had a conversation that lasted a few minutes.
Hall then apologized to the commissioner.
“We want to do this the right way,” Bettman said. “Happy Thanksgiving.”
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