There’s big news this week in the NHL. Expansion applications have been sent to the League in hopes of adding teams in two potential markets – Quebec City and Las Vegas. One of these makes me very excited, the other is a bit of a toss up for me but we’ll get into that in a moment.
First, here’s the official announcement from the NHL:
“As previously announced, NHL expansion applications were made available to all potentially interested applicants on July 6. Since that date, we have received requests from, and responded by sending applications to, 16 separate groups/individuals.
“The deadline for filing an application and proceeding in the NHL expansion process was last night. We can confirm that we have received two applications: one from Bill Foley for a franchise in Las Vegas, Nevada, and one from Quebecor for a franchise in Quebec City, Quebec.
“Our purpose, in initiating the expansion process in the manner we did, was not only to explore the possibility of admitting new members to the NHL but also, at the outset, to set realistic guideposts to distinguish between bona fide expressions of interest (i.e., those which have at least substantial ownership capabilities and an arena or the realistic possibility of an arena) 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.
“We now intend to focus exclusively on the two expansion applications 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.”
Well, I personally would love to see a second team return to Quebec so that they can be rivals with the Montreal Canadiens. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch the Quebec Nordiques leave and become the Colorado Avalanche back in 1995. I think fans in the area have learned to appreciate having a team and would gladly welcome them back. After all, if the Winnipeg Jets could make a comeback, why not the Nordiques?
While that makes sense to me (and I will admit bias since I’m both Canadian and from Montreal), I am less convinced about a franchise in Las Vegas. I mean, look at the Arizona Coyotes. After seeing how much they have struggled, should we really be talking about putting another team in the desert? Also, since Vegas is so close to California, a team would cluster with the LA Kings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. Is that really necessary? I was in Anaheim right after the Ducks won the Stanley Cup and NO ONE cared. What kind of market is that? On the other hand, Vegas is a city like no other so it is entirely possible that Bill Foley could find a way to make it work.
What do you think about the possible expansions?