When Gary Bettman announced last month that the league was opening an expansion review process, there were some potential front-runners from cities who were interested in submitted a bid for an NHL franchise. The purpose of the expansion was to explore the possibility of admitting new members to its 30-team league. July 20th was the deadline and the league admitted that they received 16 applications that were originally sent out to interested parties on July 6th. Ultimately, the league received bids only from Las Vegas and Quebec City.
Each expansion bid costs $10 million US. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed a portion of that is non-refundable, reportedly $2 million.
However, no applications were submitted from Seattle or Toronto. The two cities had their bids derailed over the weekend due to arena issues. There were hopes of both cities getting arenas built to lure a team but Seattle and Toronto were unsuccessful at the attempt due to politics, and not having their “you know what” together in time.
So now it comes down to Sin City and a city that formerly had an NHL franchise up until 1995. There are good reasons as to why both cities deserve an NHL franchise, regardless of location since both cities were rumoured to have team in place in the past and now, it’s slowly becoming a reality.
Yes, the failing Canadian dollar could be an obstacle, but Quebecor President Pierre Karl Peladeau was the one who submitted their bid for an expansion franchise on the day of the deadline. The city will have the VideoTron Centre open this fall with an expected capacity of 18,259 seats.
Look at what Quebec City has done here. A new arena and a city who’s ready to have hockey back where it once was almost two decades ago.
As mentioned above, Quebec City has not had an NHL franchise since the Nordiques left for Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche almost 20-years ago. Some challenges were faced in the mid-90’s in regards to the Canadian dollar and that means the team would be forced to pay the team in US dollars. But realistically, Quebec City should be given a team with a passionate fan base and a pure love for the sport. The return of NHL hockey to Quebec City should be a priority for the league.
Las Vegas is a top candidate for an expansion franchise who have many reasons as to why they deserve one.
Billionaire Bill Foley submitted a bid under Black Knight Sports and Entertainment along with the Maloof family, who recently owned the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. On top of the bid, Foley created a website named https://www.vegaswantshockey.com. A promotional site for hockey fans to put a deposit down on season tickets that also includes background information about why Sin City deserves a team. An excellent tactic to lure a team that eventually led to the season-ticket drive which Foley himself organized a few months ago.
The ticket drive was successful as it nearly reached 14,000 deposits. Both the city of Vegas and MGM Resorts have an arena under construction that will be open next spring that has an estimated capacity of 20,000 which will cost $350 million.
The question is will hockey in Vegas actually work out? Well, Gary Bettman seems to love hockey in Arizona for some odd reason so a hockey team in Vegas would become a main attraction for city settlers and tourists. Also, they have hosted the NHL Awards for the past six-years so like Quebec City, the city is hungry for a franchise need I say more?
This is just the start of the expansion process and don’t expect it to happen right away as Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly did confirm that the earliest any expansion would happen is at the start of the 2017-18 season. The league is expected to make a formal announcement later in the week as there are two more stages of the expansion process left which wraps up on August 10th.
In the end, the NHL got applications from two markets that desperately wanted to have a team, and none from markets who wanted a team. Right, Seattle?
So good luck to Las Vegas and Quebec City, let’s hope we see The Battle of Quebec going again.