The NHL’s Executive Committee met Tuesday in New York to discuss potential NHL expansion. No announcement came out of the meeting, but the Sin Bin, citing sources “with extensive knowledge of the organization and the expansion process,” confirms that the Committee has formulated a positive recommendation for expansion to Las Vegas.
If that’s the case, the formal announcement of expansion should come on June 22 in advance of the NHL Awards, which will take place in Las Vegas.
The next step will be for Bill Foley, the man behind the Las Vegas bid, to sign the expansion contract and return it, along with $500 million, to the league. Then all 30 owners will vote at the Board of Governors meeting to accept the expansion contract.
Foley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he had not heard from the league following Tuesday’s meeting.
Nonetheless, the Sin Bin additionally reports that the projection is for the Las Vegas team to begin play in the 2017-18 season.
As far as the Quebec City bid, the other city that hit the deadline to apply for expansion, the Sin Bin’s source didn’t have direct knowledge of whether that bid was given a positive recommendation, but said, “it’s pretty much widely assumed we’re coming in alone.”
If that’s the case, the bids will end about how things were expected to go. Quebec City could be reserved as a potential relocation city, while the NHL may feel a bit of urgency to get into Las Vegas with the lingering possibility that the NFL also gets into Las Vegas by relocating the Oakland Raiders. Approving expansion now would mean that they’re the first professional sports league to have a team in Vegas.
While the NHL hasn’t formally announced anything and the situation has the ability to change quickly, it looks like the NHL will have at least 31 teams starting in the 2017-18 season.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.