The NHL’s executive committee approved Las Vegas as a city to receive an expansion franchise, a report claims.
The move toward adding a major professional team in the gambling mecca marks an historic change in the attitude of the big sports leagues toward the heretofore taboo locale. The NHL potentially adding a Las Vegas team also impacts the NFL, which may look at the hockey league’s expansion to Sin City as a signal that America’s casino capital no longer bears a stigma or alternatively look at the NHL’s decision as making it harder for an NFL franchise to move there because the city may be incapable of supporting multiple franchises. The Oakland Raiders currently consider a move to Las Vegas.
“Our sources in Las Vegas with extensive knowledge of the organization and the expansion process have confirmed the Executive Committee formulated a positive recommendation for expansion to Las Vegas and the official announcement will come on June 22nd prior to the NHL Awards ceremony,” SinBin.Vegas reports.
The committee, made up of owners of franchises in Boston, Anaheim, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Washington, met for four hours on Tuesday. Options before them included adding a team in Las Vegas, adding a team in Quebec, adding teams in Las Vegas and Quebec, choosing one of these options but not implementing the decision until 2018, or not expanding at all.
SinBin’s report indicates that a reboot of the Nordiques in Quebec appears a non-starter for now. The Las Vegas hockey site maintains that “it’s pretty much widely assumed we’re coming in alone.”
The next step involves the committee of influential owners bringing their recommendation to all 30 NHL teams.The creation of a new NHL team, something not done since 2000 when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild entered the league, requires support of three-fourths of the owners. An announcement on the results of that vote likely comes within two weeks.
But the ownership group in Las Vegas does not count its chicken before its hatching.
“I wasn’t there,” Bill Foley, the prime mover behind bringing hockey to the high desert, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I wasn’t invited to the meeting. Nobody has said anything to me.”