Que­bec City, Las Ve­gas lead­ing NHL ex­pan­sion move­ment

League sent out 16 ap­pli­ca­tions

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Que­bec City and Las Ve­gas are now at the fore­front of the NHL ex­pan­sion move­ment.

Own­ers in those two cities were the only ones to sub­mit ex­pan­sion ap­pli­ca­tions be­fore Mon­day’s dead­line, the league has con­firmed.

The NHL said it re­ceived re­quests from and sent ap­pli­ca­tions to 16 dif­fer­ent groups or in­di­vid­u­als.

Que­becor sub­mit­ted a bid to bring the Nordiques back to Que­bec City, while Bill Fo­ley ap­plied for a Las Ve­gas fran­chise.

Own­er­ship groups in the Toronto and Seat­tle ar­eas con­sid­ered ap­ply­ing but ul­ti­mately did not.

The NHL said the in­tent of the ex­pan­sion process was to “set re­al­is­tic guide­posts to dis­tin­guish be­tween bona fide ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est . . . from those in­di­ca­tions of po­ten­tial in­ter­est which were, at best, merely hopes or as­pi­ra­tions.”

“Ap­par­ently, only Mr. Fo­ley and Que­becor have the con­fi­dence in their abil­ity to se­cure an arena and suit­able own­er­ship ca­pa­bil­ity to move for­ward with this process,” the league said.

Que­becor man­ages the Videotron Cen­tre, which will host a pre-sea­son game be­tween the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens and Pittsburgh Pen­guins in Septem­ber.

A new arena is un­der con­struc­tion on the Las Ve­gas strip and is set to open in the spring of 2016.

Fo­ley’s Hockey Vi­sion Las Ve­gas ticket drive col­lected al­most 14,000 de­posits, which helped pave the way for the city to be a strong can­di­date.

“NHL ap­pli­ca­tion filed, de­posit wired,” Fo­ley said on Twit­ter. “One step closer folks,” Fo­ley tweeted.“

The NHL in­tends to fo­cus “ex­clu­sively” on Las Ve­gas and Que­bec now that the ap­pli­ca­tions have been sub­mit­ted.

There are two more stages of the ex­pan­sion process, which goes un­til Aug. 10.

A fran­chise is ex­pected to cost up­wards of US$500 mil­lion. The ap­pli­ca­tion fee was $10 mil­lion, in­clud­ing $2 mil­lion non­re­fund­able.

Ex­pan­sion would be for the 2017-18 sea­son, com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman said last month.

Las Ve­gas would help fix cur­rent con­fer­ence im­bal­ance of 16 teams in the East and 14 in the West.

Que­bec City would present a chal­lenge, though Bettman has said ge­og­ra­phy would not be a de­ter­min­ing fac­tor on ex­pan­sion.

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