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Board of governors: Whats next step in NHL expansion?

Board of governors: Whats next step in NHL expansion?
board-of-governors-whats-next-step-in-nhl-expansion


BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The NHL insisted in the week Detroit Red Wings Jersey leading up to the board of governors meeting that there would be no big proclamation that the expansion process has officially begun. But a little expansion tease? You bet! NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, like a second-grade teacher asking his pupils to calm down, precipitated his Las Vegas comments Monday evening by asking the assembled media to not blow said announcement out of control. Potential Las Vegas team owner Bill Foley was given the green light to gauge market interest with a season-ticket drive. Beyond that, Bettman stressed several times that there are no guarantees or promises. And no official board vote has been taken vis-à-vis the potential expansion to Las Vegas. Still, what if Foley’s season-ticket drive is a success. Then what’s the next step? I asked Bettman. "Then we'll have to figure it out," he said. "Obviously, [if] the market is as strong as some people believe, obviously Mr. Foley will continue to be interested, and we'll have to figure it out from there. It may be that we're in the same position we're in now, but he'll hang in there until whatever point we decide we want to do an expansion. And it may be that the board decides they still don't want to expand at all. All it's doing is letting him measure for his interest and ours whether or not the market will support a team, at least from that measure alone. It's not any bigger deal than I just announced." This is a brilliant approach, if you think about it. If Foley’s market survey is a flop, the league can wipe its hands clean of the Vegas idea and, having not made any promises, move on like nothing happened. But if Foley finds a strong fan base, the league can proceed. Foley is doing the work, and Semyon Varlamov Jersey Ebay the NHL isn’t tied to any result, either way. "Obviously, he's talked to the gentleman [Foley]," Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. "Gary says they've done a lot of due diligence. So they live there, they check the market. I'm in Detroit. Seems like a logical tire-kicking process to me." Said another NHL governor, who wished to remain anonymous, when asked if this likely leads to a team in Las Vegas: "By no means do I think this is a slam dunk, but I do think there’s momentum now in that direction." There’s a 20,000-seat rink being built in Las Vegas. There’s an ownership group that wants to own the team. What’s stopping this from happening now that Bettman has opened the door even just a crack? For one, the league wants strong proof that there is a season-ticket base of local folks who live and work in Vegas and strongly support the idea. The NHL does not want tourists to be an important cog in ticket sales. I think they want proof that anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 season-ticket buyers would be Vegas residents investing in a local team. What does it mean for other potential expansion markets, such as Quebec City or Seattle or a second team in Toronto? Bettman said not to interpret Foley’s season-ticket drive as a leg up on the competition. Las Vegas, Bettman said, is a unique market that requires this kind of survey. "I don't think it's necessary in the other markets," Bettman said. "I don't think the same questions arise in the other markets that might come to mind." If I had to guess, my sense is the league eventually expands to Las Vegas and Seattle and keeps Quebec City as a re-location destination. The issue with Seattle, of course, is there aren’t any current plans to build a new arena. Potential NBA owner Chris Hansen controls that process in a deal with the city of Seattle, but there’s no NBA team on the way right now, so the whole thing is stuck in neutral for the moment. Which brings up this question: Could the NHL expand by http://www.officialavalancheonline.com/Red+Gabriel+Landeskog+Jersey just one team first? Just Las Vegas? Bettman allowed that it was a possibility to expand by just one team, though he stressed no decision has been made either way. The official expansion process has not started yet. But the seed was planted for Las Vegas on Monday.

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