The NHL has taken another step toward expansion.
A non-committal commissioner Gary Bettman announced Wednesday that the league will begin a formal application process to vet cities and various groups interested in acquiring an expansion franchise.
The application process will begin July 6 and run through Aug. 10.
Las Vegas, Seattle, and Quebec City have been linked to potential expansion, and to perhaps a lesser extent, Southern Ontario, Kansas City and Milwaukee as well.
Bettman maintains that nothing is imminent, but indicated the starting price for a prospective franchise would start at $500 million, while Bill Daly suggested that the earliest a team could join the league is for the 2017-18 season.
What is set in stone, however, is 3-on-3 overtime and a coach's challenge for next season. Bettman revealed that the format has been approved by the NHL Board of Governors.