Is hockey on the horizon for Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie
Gossage? Gossage says no. But the man generally regarded as one of the top promoters in racing has been approached by people involved with the NHL about joining the league and eventually replacing commissioner Gary Bettman, sources confirmed Wednesday. Bettman's contract expires after the 2007-08 season.
But sources said a group with NHL ties has met with Gossage to discuss his availibility. The NHL is looking to find a marketing guru and a high-profile individual who can bring more attention to a league that is struggling.
Gossage has been portrayed at times as a Ringling Brothers-type showman, an over-the-top promoter willing to do whatever it takes to bring attention to TMS.
His efforts have helped make the 157,000-seat TMS facility, which opened in 1997, one of the top speedways in motor sports.
It might surprise people to learn that Gossage is a serious hockey fan. He coached little league hockey on and off for 12 years while his son, Dustin, was playing the game.
"I loved the NHL for many years, but they have some problems. Their TV contact is a major issue. They probably have too many teams and their feeder system needs fixing. They have many challenges that need to be addressed."
Sounds like a realist that is willing to admit and meet troubles head on. Ahhh... what a breathe of fresh air it would be to have a Commissioner that didn't spin everything that was sent out to his "fans." Gossage also sounds like he values the on-ice product and what appeals to the majority of fans. And the fact that this guy coached peewee hockey for 12 years is like comparing John Elway to Ryan Leaf when you account for Bettman's lack of hockey knowledge before taking over the reigns.