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Tuesday, 21 July 2015 19:06

NHL News: Las Vegas, Quebec City Submit Expansion Bids; Seattle Misses Deadline

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The NHL officially received two expansion applications by Monday's deadline, but it's the city that didn't submit a request that is making the most news.

Ownership groups from Las Vegas and Quebec City are one step closer to receiving a new NHL franchise, which wouldn't be awarded until the 2017-18 season at the earliest. 

Seattle, which many assumed was a lock for both an application and eventually a team, failed to submit a bid.

The Las Vegas bid was submitted by owner William Foley, whose Hockey Vision Las Vegas ticket drive has collected almost 14,000 deposits for tickets for an NHL franchise.  There is currently a new arena being built on the Las Vegas strip, which is set to open in the spring of 2016.

The Quebec City bid was submitted by the Quebecor Company, who manages the Videotron Centre in Quebec which is slated to open in September.  The stadium will host a pre-season game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins soon after its opening.

Quebec was home to the Nordiques until 1995, when the team moved to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche. 

The Quebec City team would undoubtedly become the Nordiques, while the Las Vegas team could be known as the Black Knights.  Foley is a managing member of Black Knight Sports and Entertainment, with the name referencing Foley's days as a cadet in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

There were three separate groups that were working on a plan to bring an NHL team to Seattle, but none of them were able to jump over the political and financial hurdles needed to build an arena and pay the $10 million fee (with $2 million of it non-refundable) for the application.

There is currently no suitable arena for the NHL or NBA in Seattle, and the three groups were all seeking to build a stadium in a different area of the city.  Plus, public funding for an arena in Seattle would only currently be approved if an NBA team is the first tenant, which may not happen for several years at the earliest. 

One of the Seattle groups were trying to reverse the public funding ruling in order to place a team in the city, while the other two groups were focused on building venues in neighboring suburbs.  With no clear path to break ground on a stadium in the area, the owners clearly didn't want to invest the money required to submit a bid.

There was a common belief that the league would still allow a bid from Seattle after the deadline, due to the NHL wanting a team in the Northwest.  However, the NHL released a statement on Tuesday stating that it was going forward with the two submitted bid, and not waiting for Seattle or any other city to make a late push for a franchise.

“We now intend to focus exclusively on the two expansion applications (Las Vegas and Quebec) that have been submitted in accordance with the previously announced process. The process we have outlined for qualified applicants includes at least two more stages of documentation submission. We will provide no further updates until there is something substantive to announce.” 

Having two new teams in the West would even up the Eastern and Western Conferences, with 16 teams currently in the East and only 14 teams in the West.  A new team in Quebec City would seemingly pose some divisional alignment issues, but the league has stated that geography would not determine whether a city is given a new franchise.

Adam Belue

My name is Adam Belue, I'm from Fall River, MA, and I'm a sports fanatic.  I'll watch and write about just about any and every sport, even the fringe ones that aren't really sports like bowling, poker, and ultimate frisbee.  I'm a huge Green Bay Packers fan, and a self-proclaimed New England Patriots hater (and proud of it!)... which makes my job in a sporting goods store quite interesting.  I'm a big fan of the other local teams (Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics), along with the Alabama Crimson Tide and college football as a whole.  I may be a bit obsessed (or a lot obsessed) with Taylor Swift, and I've seen her in concert four times so far... some of the best times I've had by the way her concerts are quite the experience!  I'm also a huge tennis fan, and have played the sport for a good majority of my life.  I wish more people watched and appreciated tennis.  I'm currently a part of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox Beat Team on CLNS Radio, and post a weekly fantasy football and college football column during the season.