April 4, 2011, by Homme de Sept-Îles
A commissioner, of any sports league, serves his bosses. Those bosses are the teams in question. They pay his salary, they determine the length of his (and one day, her) contract and they call the tune.
In the NHL, teams are represented by so-called governors. And these men are often also the general managers of their respective teams.
A commissioner may wield different powers depending on the league and may, at times, institute his own agenda or provide valuable suggestions that the league, as a group can choose to pursue or ignore.
But ultimately, the commissioner is a paid employee with twenty or thirty-something owners* as his board of directors.
*more or less; the CFL, is currently an eight-team league; while the NFL has 32 teams, the NBA has 30 and the NHL has 30