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The Latest Expansion Talk

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

It wasn’t very long ago that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was treating talk of expansion as though he was being asked if he’d like an epidemic of Ebola.

But recently the nature of the rhetoric has changed so much that the question is becoming not if, but when.

And then the ultimate question. Will they be able to limit the number of new teams to just two?

Sources close to the situation have indicated Las Vegas is a done deal, the only thing to be determined being which owner will be entitled to proclaim that he brought the first major league sports franchise to Sin City.

And given how dead set against a team in the gambling haven the commissioner was 10 years ago, this move into another player friendly state-tax-free zone represents a considerable about-face indeed.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


George Malik's avatar

But right here on KK, I posted an article in which the Las Vegas Sun suggested that Sin City’s permanent population and TV demographics are far too small to realistically support any pro team…Hm.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/26/14 at 06:06 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Okay, but here’s my question. If Vegas is a “lock” and Seattle and Quebec are franchise ready, how does the conference balance look if you add three teams? Do you relocate to Quebec instead of expand?

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 08/26/14 at 06:15 PM ET

SYF's avatar

As someone who has lived in Las Vegas when the IHL’s Thunder were playing at the Thomas and Mack Center and Petr Nedved, Patrice Lefevbre, Clint Malarchuk, and Tim Cheveldae were the main draws, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 08/26/14 at 06:24 PM ET


How can it be a “done deal” without ownership being decided on? that is pretty key and a lot of pitfalls can still happen there to kill it.  Seems like more made up BS by Gallagher

Posted by jkrdevil on 08/26/14 at 08:33 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Vegas would be a good AHL town I think.  The IHL Thunder drew crowds that would be very good AHL attendance.  But Vegas also isn’t in the great shape it once was…

SYF - ... Radek Bonk!  I had friends who bought Thunder sweaters with “BONK” on the back because that’s what you do when you’re like 12 years old.

Posted by Primis on 08/26/14 at 10:08 PM ET

Chip4Pips's avatar

With the level on Lake Mead continuously dropped, where will they get the water for the ice?

Seriously though, I have not heard of a worse idea than a Sun Belt NHL team in Vegas. Seattle expansion and a re-lo of Florida or another failing team to QC I can get behind; and while they are at it, how about another failing Sun belt team to Greater Toronto? Wait that makes too much sense….

Posted by Chip4Pips on 08/26/14 at 11:11 PM ET


If they were to add Vegas, Seattle and Quebec, you can bet there would be a plan to add a 4th. But 34 just brings things right back to unbalanced so I’m guessing they go no further than 32 for awhile.

FYI, last time I heard, relocation of Florida was difficult because they are tied into a long-term lease although I think it ended in 2020.

Seattle or Portland seem to make the most sense for a lot of reasons. It’ll be a challenge in either city but with right ownership and management I think it can work. Vegas screams bad idea from the get go. Too many other options in that town. Although it would give me one more reason to visit.

Posted by evileye on 08/28/14 at 12:55 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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