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Say No To NHL Expansion In Las Vegas

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

A new Globe And Mail report on the NHL meeting with prospective owners of an expansion franchise for Las Vegas is exciting for hockey fans in Nevada. But if a team in Vegas became a reality, it has every chance of ending in disaster.

The NHL and Las Vegas have been linked for years – usually to Hollywood super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer – and part of the sell line any time the topic is broached is hockey’s best league being the first of the big four professional sports to set up shop in that city. But maybe there’s a reason why the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball haven’t put a team there. Perhaps there’s more than one reason. Maybe, for every good reason to expand to Vegas, there’s a drawback or potential pitfall.

For one thing, there’s the undeniable fact any pro team would be competing with scores of other entertainment options for people’s disposable income. If you’re a tourist coming into town, you have the option of seeing the world’s best singers, comedians, circus performers and magicians (sorry: illusionists) every night of the week. What on earth would compel the average consumer to choose a mid-season hockey game – something they can see at home at any point – over one of those events?


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


pautna's avatar

Yeah, I guess NHL hockey would never work in NY or LA either because of all of the entertainment choices they have. Oh wait.

Posted by pautna on 03/20/14 at 09:36 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Just move that awesome franchise Glendale has. BAM! Problem solved.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 03/20/14 at 09:41 AM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

Pautna, the difference is, those aren’t tourists generally going to the games in NY and LA. Those are fans of those teams that make them part of their every day lives. I see the argument on both sides for Vegas but think it would probably be a bad idea in the long run.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 03/20/14 at 10:16 AM ET

Primis's avatar

The ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers just got kicked out of their home arena because the venue saw a “lack of interest”.  A casino downtown is building a new arena for them to keep the team in town.

I really don’t see how an NHL team could possibly work.

Posted by Primis on 03/20/14 at 12:09 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

While I don’t think an NHL team in Vegas is a good idea, I don’t think comparing the idea to minor league hockey not working in any city is ever accurate. There interest level for the best league in the world will always far outweigh seeing average hockey anywhere.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 03/20/14 at 12:12 PM ET

SYF's avatar

A 3,500 seating temporary tent is being built to host the Wranglers while The Plaza Hotel is building the arena ON TOP of the parking garage.  Downtown Las Vegas is seeing a resurgency of new investments and residential living spaces.  It’ll be a bit like Manhattan.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 03/20/14 at 12:16 PM ET

SYF's avatar

As for the NHL expansion stories? 


Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 03/20/14 at 12:24 PM ET

RockWestfall711's avatar

Ownership is EVERYTHING!  Hockey can work ANYWHERE as long as there is good ownership.

Atlanta is a great example of a sun belt city that drew well early and in the 2006-07 playoff season before bad ownership made it implode.
Good ownership revived near dead franchises at Pittsburgh and St. Louis, jumpstarted Chicago.

I am so beyond tired of ignorant comments about non traditional NHL markets as when teams are good and backed with good ownership the fact is that they succeed. 

Boston, Chicago, and even Montreal in the 1990’s had empty seats and apathy at times as did Detroit pre Illitch. 

It ALL comes down to ownership. 

Viva Las Vegas, as there is no doubt most NHL teams would “travel well” with fans looking for a great trip and experience.

I say go for it!  Just get a GREAT owner!


Posted by RockWestfall711 from Las Vegas on 03/20/14 at 12:28 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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