Torrent of boos just part of the routine for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman

Torrent of boos just part of the routine for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman

Singing the anthem, doing the wave, hexing the goalie and throwing hats after a player's third goal are all hockey rituals played out at every arena.

But for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, there's also one more. It's the whole-hearted booing of him every time he appears, even if it's in a city where an NHL hockey game has never been played. 

Bettman, who was in Edmonton Tuesday to visit the new arena, says he takes it all in stride.

"It comes with the turf," he told Edmonton media. "The booing is just part of the routine now.

"Actually, if I walked out on the ice and there was no booing I'd be stunned. I'd look around to see what the problem was."

He recounted his trip to Las Vegas in February, where he announced the name of the NHL's newest expansion team to a crowd of a few thousand people.

"I just delivered an expansion team — the first professional sports team — to a city that didn't have one and I'm walking up to the podium getting booed.

"What I said when I got to the podium is, 'Thank you for the welcome. It now proves to me that you're ready to be an NHL city.'"

During his visit to Rogers Place he marvelled that the arena was "best in class," describing it as "nothing short of phenomenal," and said it "will be transformational for Edmonton for decades to come."

He said he would like to see the arena host a draft or all-star game once all the construction in the Ice District is complete.