NHL expansion plans are in the works, according to a pair of reports. As many as four cities are set to receive new franchises, if the reports are led to be believed.
Howard Bloom of Sports Business News first tweeted the news on Tuesday, which sent the sporting world into a flurry. But later that day, Tony Gallagher of the Province, based in Vancouver, also reported on the news. He stated that an NHL team being created in Las Vegas is a “done deal” according to “sources close to the situation”.
The NHL hasn’t had any expansions since the 2000-01 season, when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wilds joined the league. So it is due time for some new blood, and new fans, to get on board.
Though the top-dogs at the NHL are keeping mom on the subject, the commissioner Gary Bettman did visit Seattle in May for an update on a proposed new arena, despite previously stating the league would not expand beyond the current 30 teams.
Toronto and Quebec City have long been thrown around when the subject of NHL expansion comes up, considering how large the sport is in Canada. Quebec hasn’t had its own team since the Nordiques moved to Denver in 1995, and despite Toronto already being home to the Maple Leafs, it’s possible the city (or surrounding suburbs) could support a second team.
Las Vegas, meanwhile, seems like the dark horse of the four expansions mentioned, seeing as it is an odd place for a hockey team…though games would likely draw a large crowd of visiting international fans.
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