by: Ben Oviatt (@BenOviatt17)
But Gary Bettman, who lived in an office, most certainly did NOT!
Bettman HATED hockey! The whole hockey season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his skates were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his brain was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason, his wheels or his hands,
He stood there on Opening Night, hating the fans,
Staring down from his office, eyes filled with rage,
At the cool glow of the arena, frozen from cage to cage
For he knew every fan down in Fanville
Was busy now, scoping out the arena, and feeling the chill.
“And they’re putting on jerseys!” he snarled with a sneer,
“Tomorrow is hockey! It’s practically here!”
Then he growled, with his manicured fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find some way to stop the season from coming!”
For Tomorrow, he knew, all the cheers and the screams,
The fans would filter in the arena. They’d root for their teams!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise!
Noise! Noise! Noise!
That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE!
NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!
Then the fans, young and old, would sit down in their seats.
And they’d cheer! And they’d drink! And they’d FEAST!
FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
They would feast on nachos, and the rare arena pretzel.
Which was something that left Bettman feeling quite dreadful!
And THEN they’d do something he liked least of all!
Every fan in the arena, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with organ music ringing.
The anthem would play. And the fans would start singing!
They’d sing! And they’d sing! And they’d SING!
SING! SING! SING!
And the more Bettman thought of hearing the pipes ring,
The more the Commissioner thought, “I must stop this whole thing!”
“For nine whole years I’ve put up with it now!”
“I MUST stop this season from coming! But HOW?”
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
THE COMMISIONER GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!
“I know just what to do!” Bettman laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick superfan hat and a coat.
“What a great Bettman trick! I’ll take the whole season, every single day!”
“With no hockey, the fans will have to watch the NBA!”
“All I need is a Zamboni…” The Commish looked around.
But, since Zambonis are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop old Bettman? No! Gary said,
“If I can’t find a Zamboni, I’ll make one instead!”
So he fired up his Prius. Then he took some fresh paint,
“This looks amazing,” he said. “They’ll think I’m a saint!”
Then he loaded some bags And some old empty sacks,
In the trunk of his Prius, and he hid all his stacks.
Then Bettman revved up the engine, and the Zamboni started down,
Toward the homes where the fans lay sleeping in their hockey-crazed town.
All their windows were dark. Excitement filled the air.
All the fans were dreaming of Lord Stanley without care.
When he came to the first little house on the square.
“This is stop number one,” the old Commissioner hissed,
And he climbed to the roof, empty bags in his fist.
Then he slid down the chimney. A rather tight fit.
But, if Santa could do it, then so could the Commish.
He got stuck only once, for a moment or two.
Then he squeezed his head out of the fireplace, a shade of Maple Leaf blue.
Where all the season tickets hung in a row.
“These tickets,” he grinned, “are the first things to go!”
Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile so lame,
Around the whole room, and he cancelled every game!
The sticks! And skates! Helmets! Gloves!
The goalies! And D-men! Forwards! The players they all love!
And he locked them out of the arena. Then Bettman, very nimbly,
Stuffed all the bags, one by one, back up the chimney!
Then he slunk to the concessions. He took the fan’s feast!
He took the hot dogs! He took the nachos and pretzels at least!
He cleaned out the concessions with the speed of a jogger.
Why, Bettman even took their last bottle of Yuengling Lager!
Then he had an idea to do something drastic.
“And NOW!” grinned Bettman, “I will cancel the Winter Classic!”
The Commissioner gathered the owners, and they cancelled it all,
When he heard a tiny peep, a sound so small
He turned around fast, and he saw a small fan!
Little Cindy-Lou Fan, who was not more than two.
Bettman had been caught by this tiny Pens fan,
Who’d got out of bed for a cup of water, and saw the evil man.
She stared at the Commissioner and said, “Mr. Bettman, why,”
“Why are you ruining the NHL? WHY?”
But, you know, that old Gary was so smart and so slick,
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
“Why, my sweet little tot,” Gary Bettman lied,
“The players are too greedy, the fans are on our side.”
“So I’m extending the lockout, my dear.”
“We’ll work it out with the owners. There will be hockey this year”
And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head,
And he got her a drink and he sent her to bed.
And when Cindy-Lou Fan went to bed with her cup,
Bettman went to his office and cracked the f*** up!
Then he took away the All-Star game! No Penguins, no Red Wings, not even a Flyer!
Then he went back to his office did Bettman, himself, the old liar.
On their walls there were no more FatHeads, he left nothing but hooks and some wire.
And the one speck of hope that he left in the house,
Was a tiny piece of puck, too small for a mouse.
Then he did the same thing the other fan’s houses.
Leaving pucks much too small for the other team’s mouses!
It was quarter past dawn… All the fans, still in bed,
All the fans, still asleep when he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their jerseys! The posters! How pleasin’!
The sticks! And the skates! The pucks! Gary and the owners took the whole damn season!
Three thousand feet up! Up the stairs of his office,
He strode with his load to the window to drop it!
“Screw the fans!” he was happily humming.
“They’re finding out now that no season is coming!”
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!”
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
Then the fans down in Fanville will all cry boo-hoo!”
“That’s a noise,” grinned Bettman, “That I simply MUST hear!”
So he paused. And the Commissioner put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow.
But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Fanville! Bettman popped his eyes!
Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every fan down in Fanville, the tall and the small,
They were playing hockey! Without any NHL at all!
He HADN’T stopped hockey from coming! IT CAME!
One way or another, it came just the same!
And Bettman, with his heart ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without Ovechkin! It came without Crosby!”
“It came without Malkin, Stamkos or Oshie!”
And he cried for hours, till his eyes got sore.
Then Bettman thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe hockey,” he thought, “is more than a business.”
“Maybe the game…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
And what happened then? Well…in Fanville they say,
That the Commissioner’s small heart grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his skates didn’t feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with the gear through the bright morning light,
Down to the pond, and delivered his plunder, everything whole!
And he, HE HIMSELF! Gary Bettman played goal!