NHL set to announce approval to open expansion process

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If you’ve been waiting for expansion talk to be taken to the next level, wait no longer.

Today’s Board of Governors meeting, which is being held at the Bellagio Hotel, is expected to end with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman walking through the doors, sly smile on his face, and appear in front of cameras to announce that they have opened the process to expand from 30 teams. While a set number probably won’t be set anytime soon, we can expect that it will be at least two new teams making their way to the league.

It should come to no surprise that this announcement is set to be made in Los Vegas, where not only are the NHL awards set to take place live from that location tonight, but rumors surrounding a team in that city have been circulating for quite some time and spreading like wild-fire. It also helps their case that Bill Foley, the projected owner of a new team in Las Vegas, has been taking deposits for season tickets. That number has reached over eleven thousand and continues to climb, showing promise of heavy interest in a hockey team for the city. With an arena already being built, it’s safe to say that whatever the number may be, one of the teams will be landing in Nevada.

It’s almost guaranteed that Foley and Las Vegas will get their team, which leaves us with one more team to be fought for. Among the cities favored to be pushing for an NHL team, Seattle and Quebec City are the likely two teams that will be battling it out. Seattle investor Chris Hansen proposed a multipurpose arena and last month, he received approval to move ahead with plans after the state saw no reason to block the plans. The arena would be suitable to host both a basketball and hockey team. Meanwhile in Quebec City, mayor Regis Labeaume‘s plans for an 18 thousand seat arena will meet it’s expected date of completion in September of 2015 an will come at $30 million under budget, costing the city $370 million instead of the expected $400 million price tag.

Two weeks ago, Bettman hinted at possible expansion during the Stanley Cup final. He stated that if interest was booming during the discussions in June, the process for expansion would be opened. The expected price tag for a new team is approximately $500 million. It’s now time for the cities that are interested to put their money where their mouth is and show just how serious they are.

No number of teams yet and no guarantees just yet, but it seems like expansion is about to happen. We can finally put to bed the rumors of the Arizona Coyotes re-locating to greener pastures because those lands may just end up with a brand-spanking-new team of their own.

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