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All Bill Daly

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

Is the NHL done with expansion for the foreseeable future?

"I would think so. We're comfortable with 32 [teams]. There are other markets who are interested in having NHL franchises, but the expansion equation has changed over time in every league, but particularly our league. The equation is, 'Is the addition of the franchise good for the league? Does it help grow the league?' As opposed to the short-term financial benefits associated with expansion. That's not what's in our owners' heads at this point in time. I think both in Vegas' case and Seattle's case, they favorably received those franchises as being beneficial to the overall business of the League."

The NHL played preseason games in Shanghai and Beijing in 2017 and Shenzhen and Beijing in 2018 in the NHL China Games. One reason was the Chinese government's interest in promoting hockey ahead of the Beijing Olympics. After the Beijing Olympics, will it be less urgent for the NHL to play in China? What is the NHL's future there?

"I don't think it's less urgent. I think we continue to view growth of the game in China to be a priority for our international expansion. How you do that, how you break into that market, how you make people who aren't used to the game fans of the game, those all continue to be challenges. But it's a large market with a large number of people, and we still think there's a benefit to exposing our sport at its highest level in China. Beijing will be a big part of that, but we've also made a commitment to grassroots hockey in China and investing in that, and I expect that to continue."

more Q & A...

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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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