Report: NHL expansion to Las Vegas 'a done deal'

Aug 26, 7:50 PM

The Commissioner of the National Hockey League, Gary Bettman, has repeatedly insisted that the league is not engaged in an active "expansion process," but reports insisting otherwise continue to crop up.

The latest is from veteran Vancouver Province columnist Tony Gallagher, who suggested on Tuesday that the NHL will expand to Las Vegas, Nev. sooner rather than later:

Sources close to the situation have indicated Las Vegas is a done deal, the only thing to be determined being which owner will be entitled to proclaim that he brought the first major league sports franchise to Sin City.

Gallagher also insists that there's fire behind all of the NHL-related smoke emanating out of Seattle, Wash. and reports that Vancouver-born billionaire Victor Coleman would be among the bidders interested in bringing a second NHL club to the Pacific Northwest.

While rumors about Las Vegas expansion continue to swirl, to the consternation of players like Chicago Blackhawks nofunnick Jonathan Toews, NHL brass has been steadfast in their insistence that nothing is imminent for the league on the expansion front.

"We're not ready to expand," Bettman said in early May, addressing rumors of potential NHL expansion in Las Vegas. "We, as I repeatedly have said, have received expressions of interest from people who might want to own a franchise in Las Vegas - as we have from a number of other cities - but we're not involved in any expansion process."

[H/T Kukla's Korner]

Sep 30, 5:58 PM

NHL Governor on talk of expansion: 'That's going nowhere right now'

Sep 30, 5:58 PM

As NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly have repeatedly made clear in recent months, the league isn't close to expanding beyond 30 member clubs contrary to multiple reports.

Though the topic was discussed on Tuesday at the NHL's Board of Governor meetings, it was mostly Bettman 'debunking' the myriad reports of imminent NHL expansion to Seattle, Las Vegas, Quebec City, and Toronto.

Following Tuesday's meeting an unnamed NHL Governor added his voice to the chorus of league officials repudiating the notion that expansion is imminent:

Doth the NHL protest too much, or is this legitimately a case of smoke in the absence of fire? 

It's likely the former for now, but the specter of NHL expansion isn't going away so long as expansion fees aren't factored into Hockey Related Revenue, and the league's conferences remain unbalanced (there are 16 Eastern Conference teams at the moment, and only 14 in the West).

Sep 22, 3:03 PM

NHL commish Gary Bettman reiterates 'we're not looking to expand right now'

Sep 22, 3:03 PM

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman appeared Monday at the Canadian Club of Toronto and spoke candidly about the state of the league and its 30 franchises ahead of the 2014-15 season. 

As it goes, Bettman was grilled about the NHL's rumored interest in expanding beyond the current markets, continuing to deny reports that suggest the league is looking to put down more roots.  

The fact is, this is the most stable our franchises have ever been. The healthiest we've been as a league. We're not looking to expand right now. No teams are relocating.

I'm not suggesting that in some point in the future we might not look at it, but we're not ready to do it now. And I don't want to build up anybody's expectations because that's not fair to the people in the communities that want to have a franchise. 

Still beaming from the lucrative Canadian TV deal signed last year, Bettman joked that the only thing bothering him about the inaccurate reports was that his franchises were undervalued.

He also downplayed the impact of the conference imbalance and how expansion could help remedy the current discrepancy. 

You don't expand just to fulfill someone's notion of symmetry. It's a very important business decision to make and you do it for the right reasons and at the right time. 

We are feeling good about where we are. We are feeling good about the future. But I'm not sure at this point that's something we need right now. 

For Bettman's comments on expansion in full, tap here.

Sep 3, 4:33 PM

Gary Bettman debunks notion of NHL expanding by 4 teams

Sep 3, 4:33 PM

National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the recent expansion scuttlebutt on Tuesday, refuting the rumor that the league would be adding four teams, if not fully shutting the door on the idea.

While four teams does seem a bit much, the addition of two new franchises certainly makes a lot of sense, especially considering the 16-to-14 team ratio from the East to the West.

As such, cities like Las Vegas and Seattle remain on the table as possible expansion destinations, with other cities in the mix if the need arises for relocation.

Nothing appears imminent, but, in this case, smoke definitely seems to point to fire somewhere down the road.

Aug 28, 2:50 PM

Dan Patrick: NHL will have a team in Vegas by 2016

Aug 28, 2:50 PM

Rumors about a National Hockey League franchise in Las Vegas continue to swirl, and on Thursday, Dan Patrick of Premiere Radio Networks and NBCSN declared on his national radio show that a franchise will indeed arrive in Sin City by 2016.

Via NBC Sports:

We will have an NHL team in Las Vegas in 2016. They've already broken ground on the arena, from what I've been told, and here are some of the other details that I've found out. And this is from a financial person who is involved in this. The paperwork's already done. It is, as has been reported, a done deal. It's a done deal we'll have a hockey team in Las Vegas in 2016.

Patrick added that it's still uncertain whether the franchise will land in Vegas via expansion or relocation. 

He cited two teams to consider for relocation: the Arizona Coyotes, who are believed to have an out clause if they continue to lose $25 million or more in the coming seasons, and the Carolina Hurricanes, whose owner Peter Karmanos is asking an "exorbitant price" in an attempt to sell his team.

The owners would likely prefer an expansion scenario, due to the fees collected by forming a new team. Further to this point, Patrick confidently declared Seattle will also be getting a team, balancing out the number of teams in the East and West.

While Patrick isn't necessarily seen as a "hockey" guy, it's interesting to note that NBCSN carries the NHL's television rights, which may help to connect these dots.

Regardless, this story doesn't appear to be going away any time soon.

The Coyotes' situation was later clarified:

[H/T The Sporting News]

Feature photo courtesy of Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

Aug 27, 7:25 PM

NHL says it is only discussing expanding league

Aug 27, 7:25 PM

The NHL insists expansion is not imminent.

''Nothing has happened to change the status quo,'' NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a telephone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. ''There continues to be interest from some markets, and we continue to be interested in discussing the possibilities, but there is no plan moving forward in terms of expansion.''

The NHL has not expanded since the 2000-01 season when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets became the 29th and 30th franchises in the league. After last year's realignment, the Eastern Conference has 16 teams and there are 14 in the Western Conference.

Seattle, Toronto, Quebec City, Las Vegas and Kansas City have been mentioned as markets that might land a new team in the league.

''If we get to a point where there's enough interest in enough places that it warrants consideration, then the Board of Governors may well invoke a formal expansion process and we'll look at everything,'' NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said. ''I don't think this is something you do on a piecemeal basis.''

A person with knowledge of the league's plans, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said reports of a possible four-team NHL expansion were news to him and ''I don't believe it.''

Bettman visited Seattle to meet with local elected leaders in May to get an update on the status of a possible new arena proposed by investor Chris Hansen.

Bettman has said Seattle's arena situation has to be settled before the NHL would consider expanding there. Legislation approved by city and county officials called for an NBA team to be placed in Seattle first before an NHL team unless the memorandum of understanding on the project is rewritten. Hansen has said his group does not have interest in being majority owners of an NHL team.

''Seattle seems to have the most number of people interested,'' Bettman said in June. ''The fact is there's no building that's on the horizon. The person who controls the rights to build a building in Seattle is intent upon having an NBA team before he builds a building. Based on what's happened to date, and the fact that his partner has now bought a different franchise, I don't know that there's any prospect of a building in Seattle. It's nice that there's interest, but there's really not a whole lot for us to do with it.''


AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell contributed to this report.

Aug 27, 10:15 AM

Bill Daly: NHL expansion 'not in our plans'

Aug 27, 10:15 AM

Reports of NHL expansion ran rampant Tuesday evening, with a team in Las Vegas believed to be a "done deal" (see below) and as many as four teams being added by 2017.

Slam those brakes, says deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

"[Expansion] is not in our plans, there is absolutely nothing new in that," Daly told TVA Sports

Daly also addressed the idea of relocation, saying, "We have no move in sight, whether in the case of the [Florida] Panthers, or any other team."

Seattle, Toronto, Quebec City and Kansas City have been named as potential destinations for NHL expansion teams, but it appears as though the NHL will continue to deny such a move until, well, it doesn't.

Dec 17, 11:48 PM

Report: NHL wants to expand to Las Vegas

Dec 17, 11:48 PM

The National Hockey League is reportedly very keen to be the first of the North American professional sports leagues to place a franchise in Las Vegas, Nevada.

From TSN's Bob McKenzie:

The NHL party line hasn't changed. There are no formal plans for expansion but if they expand and everyone assumes at some point, they're going to, the common knowledge is that Seattle is the primary target in the Pacific Northwest. The strong sense I'm getting now is that Las Vegas is second on that list behind Seattle and the NHL wants to be the first major professional sports league to put a franchise in Las Vegas. People in Quebec City may be saying, 'Hey, what about us?' Well, keep in mind, there's no rule that says if they expand, that they only expand by two teams. The possibility of expanding by three teams, with Quebec City being one of them, is at least something that will be considered. There's lots of money in expansion; over $300 million per franchise, close to a $1 billion winfall that isn't shared with the players or anyone else, just the owners.

The NHL has hosted the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas every seasons since 2009 (with the exception of this past season for lockout related reasons).