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BETTMAN'S INFLUENCE KEY IN CREATING NEW NHL DRUG POLICY
Published May 17, 1995
The NHL and NHLPA will introduce their first comprehensive policy to deal "effectively with drug and alcohol abuse" within a few months, according to this morning's Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. David Shoalts and James Christie write that "the shame of the NHL" is that no one has been successful in heading off the many abuse problems in the league. But NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow have exchanged "progressive" proposals on how to deal with abuse problems in the NHL. Goodenow said the proposals "have multiple phases, like the strike 1-2-3" policy of the NBA and NFL. The "progress" is that the policy "grows out of Bettman's approach, which Goodenow views as more compassionate" than former NHL President John Zielger. Bettman is "closer to the issue" than his predecessor, as he wrote the NHL's policy proposal himself and his wife works as a substance abuse counselor. Bettman: "The three-strike policy is based on truth and realities ... to encourage players to come forward, to identify themselves and get treatment." In dealing with abuse in the past, there was a "perceived risk of alienating long-standing sponsors," such as Molson and Anheuser-Busch who advertise heavily on NHL broadcasts. Goodenow said there is now "a mood among the brewery people that they have to deal with this." Goodenow admits a new policy is "long overdue:" "Given the change to Bettman, we'll have a program that is progressive in nature. That's the focus of what we've been talking about: that what we will do will help the players" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/17).