Puck Daddy - NHL

Tripp Mickle of Sports Business Journal looked at the NHL's most recent tax filing and dug up some absolute gold — or at least enough financial information to make you scowl slightly harder when purchasing a $30 officially licensed hat.

Mickle reports that the NHL saw its legal fees rise 48.6 percent during the fiscal year of July 2008-June 2009, to $3.94 million. There was evidently some sort of small-claims court case in Glendale, Ariz., that affected that budget. Something about petty larceny we hear.

The other news concerns what the NHL's power brokers pull down in annual salary, including commissioner Gary Bettman:

The league reported the compensation of seven more executives than it historically had disclosed, causing the total reported compensation of senior executives to increase by 64 percent during the period, to $9.9 million. Commissioner Gary Bettman saw his total compensation increase 1.7 percent to $7.23 million in 2008-09. His base compensation totaled $5,529,491 million, other compensation $956,515, deferred compensation $700,000 and benefits $44,777.

The package continues the escalation of Bettman's compensation, which has nearly doubled from his pre-lockout compensation of $3.77 million. During that same period, the league saw its revenue increase from $2.2 billion to more than $2.6 billion.

As we wrote last year during the Bettman salary disclosure: "It should be written into the CBA that no NHL suit can make more than Jarome Iginla(notes)."  

Then again, as you see from NHL Numbers, Bettman makes a few dollars more than a lot of NHL stars. 

You might think Bettman deserves to earn as much as the fry guy at Wendy's, but in reality he's underpaid. According to SBJ, the commissioner makes less than Bud Selig ($18.35 million) and Roger Goodell ($10.9 million) and probably David Stern (north of $10 million). But hey, there might be another labor stoppage ahead for the NHL, so clear some shelf space for another piggy bank, G.B.

As you can see above, Bill Daly and Colin Campbell make some nice coin. Mike Murphy(notes), who manages the NHL's video review war room, makes much less but bridges the gap with bribes from the L.A. Kings. (That's just a joke, Vancouver. Put down the tin foil.)

The surprise on this list for us? John Collins, the COO, making less than a million dollars, and especially in comparison to the other names on the list. He was hired in 2007 having been a key player in NFL marketing and then as CEO of the Cleveland Browns.

His efforts behind key initiatives like NHL Network and the Winter Classic alone should have earned him $1 million. Eh, maybe if he takes over Gary's corner office one day ...

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