November 08, 2017

Hockey Hall of Fame 2017: Jeremy Jacobs

Jeremy Jacobs, long time owner of the Boston Bruins, is going into the Hockey Hall of Fame this weekend. 

And the question everyone should be asking themselves is: why?

Bruins fans know all too well what I mean. Under Jacob's at-times absent ownership the Bruins have won one Stanley Cup in forty three years. His lasting legacy will be as an owner who was not always willing to spend the dollars to make the Bruins the best.

Whatever. Jacobs isn't going into the Hall of Fame for being a less-than-beloved owner of a team that didn't do a whole lot. He is going in as a builder of the sport of hockey (although owners getting in as building are almost always seen as slap-on-the-back patronage appointments).

What did Jacobs do to build the sport of hockey? He was behind the multiple labour stoppages that brought in the salary cap at the expense of an entire season plus many more games. While Gary Bettman takes all the hate and the heat for these dark moments in league history, fans should realize Gary is nothing more than the owner's puppet. And Jeremy Jacobs, the most powerful owner in the league and, since 2007, the Chairman of the Board of Governors, is the puppet master.

The salary cap came at great cost - too great of a cost many will say. The owners, not surprisingly, argue that was essential, and with some validity. The league insured all member franchises - especially small market teams - could compete on an equal level as the deep pocketed teams. And, thanks in part to the league's silly three point games including points for losing, the unparalleled parity looks great.

The salary cap story line is one of the most influential aspects, both positive and negative, of modern NHL history I'm not so sure that merits the key hardliner on the owners side getting inducted

Owners being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as builders is one thing, but there are so many others who have dedicated their lives to hockey and should be considered Hall of Famer builders. Perhaps owner inductions would be easier to take if there were more Clare Drakes going into the Hockey Hall of Fame every year. 

Jeremy Jacobs is a lot of great things. He is a very successful businessman and incredible philanthropist. He is a very powerful man in the National Hockey League. And now he is a Hockey Hall of Famer.

No comments: