The NHL has decided to expand to just a single city, and that city will be Las Vegas, according to an AP report. That is, they’re tentatively approved for expansion so long as they’re able to provide the $500 million expansion fee.
Nonetheless, the AP’s source called Vegas a “done deal.”
That means the other bid being considered will be tabled. Quebec City will not see a new team within the next two seasons, though that doesn’t mean they’re completely out of sight and out of mind.
The Las Vegas bid included building the 17,500-seat T-Mobile Arena (privately funded) and securing over 13,200 season ticket deposits. The team doesn’t have an announced name, but the man behind the bid, Bill Foley, has the bid run by a company called Black Knight Sports and Entertainment. Black Knight is also the name of his financial services company. So, the Las Vegas Black Knights is expected to be the moniker.
The Las Vegas club is expected to start playing on the strip in the 2017-18 season (though it could be later than that), meaning that there will be an expansion draft likely to occur in June of 2017 and that the Las Vegas club will begin getting draft picks as well.
There are a host of other details that franchises and fans will be eager to sort, like the placement of the club in the league, if a management group has been decided on, how this impacts the season schedule and other details that it’s too early to have specifics on. Though it is assumed that the NHL’s 31st team will play in the Western Conference, and it’d make the most sense for the club to join the Pacific Division, helping cut down on the number of miles those teams can put on over the course of a season, among other reasons.
The AP’s source was anonymous, because the NHL’s official announcement isn’t expected to come until June 22, just before the annual NHL Awards, fortuitously held in Las Vegas.
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.