At this point, some fans in Las Vegas have had their season tickets for the potential expansion NHL franchise for one year. Those fans have been on board with Bill Foley’s dream since Day One and have been with him through the entire expansion process.
However, more than five months have passed since Foley’s Las Vegas expansion bid entered Phase III, and it could give some pause about whether or not the league has the willingness to expand at all. Even still, Foley told NBC Las Vegas’ Amber Dixon that the estimated 14,000 fans who’ve made ticket deposits are “not losing faith” in the expansion bid, even though 40 or 50 refunds have been issued over the past year.
And for those who have stayed on board, Foley, who said he’s 95 percent certain Las Vegas gets a team, hopes he can give an answer sooner rather than later.
“I don’t want to give the league too much time,” Foley told Dixon. “They’re doing their job, they’re doing their process and so on, but we would really like to have the word by June.”
Foley’s hopeful for June for a number of reasons, many of which include the building and staffing of an organization that can hit the ground running by the 2017-18 season. He told Dixon that he understands the delay on the league’s part as they hit the back half of the season and enter the playoffs, but added “the reality is we really can’t talk to potential GMs or coaches or scouting staff.”
Beyond the league’s day-to-day operations, though, Foley has another idea what may be holding up the expansion process: the potential expansion draft.
“The other thing that’s really going to be complicated is the draft,” Foley told Dixon. “Who’s going to be available in the draft? Are players with no-trade clauses part of the draft or not part of the draft? Owners in the league have a lot of things to do and figure out.”
Even without knowledge of who will be available should there be an expansion draft, Foley has set high goals for a potential Las Vegas franchise. He said he’s been able to be patient now, but if Las Vegas gets a team he won’t be able to wait for them to start making an impact in the league.
“Our goal is to win 25-30 games the first season,” Foley told Dixon. “40 games the second season, 50 games the third season and be in the playoffs.”