Hotchkiss believed in family, hockey and Canada: Bettman

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:20 AM ET

CALGARY - The detour is one Gary Bettman is thankful today he made.

Instead of heading to Vancouver for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, Bettman made a point of stopping in Calgary to see Harley Hotchkiss, whose battle with prostate cancer was becoming more and more uphill.

The NHL commissioner spent more than two hours with the former Flames part-owner.

"I'm not feeling good today, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to see my good friend," Bettman said yesterday.

Like so many throughout Calgary and the NHL, Bettman was saddened by the news Hotchkiss died Wednesday morning, but wanted to remember the happy times.

As chairman of the NHL's board of governors for a dozen years, the pair worked closely through so many of the league's ups and downs.

"When I think about Harley, I think about how we always chatted multiple times a week, particularly when he was chairman," Bettman said. "Every Sunday afternoon, I would get a call. If one of my kids answered the phone, he would talk to them and knew exactly what was going on in their lives.

"What made Harley great was he was just such a good person. He was the consummate gentleman. He had the right values. He believed in community. He believed in family. He believed in hockey. He believed in Canada. His values were second to none."

"He should be an inspiration to everybody."

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNRandySportak


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