Las Vegas will be granted an NHL team, according to a report, and the team could take the ice as early as the 2017-18 season. The official announcement of the successful expansion process is expected on June 22.
Bill Foley wanted to bring hockey to Las Vegas, and, according to a report, the man behind Las Vegas’ NHL expansion bid is about to get his wish.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday afternoon that a “person with direct knowledge of the NHL’s decision says the league has settled on Las Vegas as its choice for expansion.” A second source told the Associated Press that the expansion franchise was a “done deal” after a recommendation for expansion had been made by the NHL’s board of governors executive committee.
All that’s left now for Foley and his team will be coming up with $500 million, which will be the final fee to make the expansion official. If he can come up with the money — and there’s little doubt he will — the NHL could have its 31st team by the 2017-18 campaign.
Unfortunately for those in Quebec, the news means the province’s capital won’t be landing an NHL club. The signs were already there with a rocky Canadian dollar and statements from Quebecor’s Brian Mulroney that expansion was not “for tomorrow.” Tuesday’s news all but seals the bid’s fate, though.
Exact details about the expansion franchise — including which division the team will play in, which season they’ll begin play, the team name, coach, general manager and hockey operations team — are unknown. What is known, however, is the team will play in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, which has been built with the hockey team in mind.
Though the process has taken longer than some expected, Foley said in February that he and fans weren’t losing faith in the project. Foley headed up a ticket drive to show the city’s support for the team and, according to the Associated Press, the drive has seen around 13,200 season ticket deposits made.
Next up will be the formal announcement, expected to come June 22, and preparations for an expansion draft, which will take place the season before the Las Vegas franchise, still without a name, takes the ice. And when that happens, Foley wants to see the team hit the ground running.
“Our goal is to win 25-30 games the first season,” Foley told NBC Las Vegas’ Amber Dixon in February. “40 games the second season, 50 games the third season and be in the playoffs.”