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If he were a player in his league, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would be among its best paid, drawing a higher salary than all but 17 players will earn next season.

According to a report in the SportsBusiness Journal today, Bettman's income topped $7.5-million "for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010," information that comes from the league's latest tax filing.

That's more than double what Bettman earned five years earlier - a boost in pay that comes in part as a reward for getting NHL owners the collective bargaining agreement they wanted and getting rid of NHLPA head Bob Goodenow in 2005.

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The story lists the annual salaries for other top NHL officials - how about $1.5-million for now former disciplinarian Colin Campbell? - but one of the more interesting figures is buried among the "legal costs" section of the piece.

There it lists $9-million as the amount the league paid law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom for representing it through the Phoenix Coyotes debacle in 2009-10, a sum coming out of the owners' pocket barring a sale of the team for more than they paid in the bankruptcy.

Add that on top of whatever losses the Coyotes have posted in addition to the $25-million being paid by the City of Glendale.

The league listed its revenues and expenses both at $83.3-million in this period.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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