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No expansion plans yet, but Bettman discusses Quebec City, Las Vegas, Seattle

May 5, 2014, 9:04 AM EDT

Gary Bettman AP

The NHL isn’t looking to expand at this time, but when the subject comes up, Quebec City and Seattle are often mentioned.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was recently asked about the subject and he was willing to go into some detail about each city’s situation. Between the two, Bettman acknowledged that he typically gets “far more” inquiries about Seattle than Quebec City. That’s in part because the current NHL makeup features 16 Eastern Conference and 14 Western Conference teams, which lends itself to expansion in the west.

“Which, by definition, creates a problem, at least in the question for Quebec City,” Bettman said, per NESN. “And I say, and I’ll say it again, we don’t expand just for purposes of symmetry.”

In fact, right now Seattle isn’t a viable expansion option even though Bettman likes the city’s major junior tradition and the possibility of a Seattle-Vancouver Canucks’ rivalry.

“The threshold issue, before we can really seriously consider Seattle, would be whether or not there’s a building coming out of the ground,” Bettman explained. “Key Arena is inadequate, and Chris Hansen, who’s the one controls the rights to build a building, is focused on an NBA team. So, until the building issue is one that we can understand better and be told that there’s a realistic possibility of the building coming out of the ground anytime soon, that’s not something that we can seriously consider.”

The commissioner also acknowledge that a new MGM arena capable of seating 20,000 recently broke ground in Las Vegas. MGM chairman and CEO Jim Murren said the arena is capable of making money without a home team, but they are interested in having an NHL or NBA franchise there when the arena’s ready, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Bettman was noncommittal on the subject and specified that the league hasn’t “formally accepted or rejected” Las Vegas as an option for any potential expansion.

  1. comeonnowguys - May 5, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Before they start expanding the league, they should start expanding the Coyote and Panther fanbase.

    Geographically.

    To the north.

    Way north.

    • dropthepuckeh - May 5, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Yeah, one in each conference with two cities in each geographic area ready to fill the building. Seattle Coyotes, Quebec Panthers. Next.

      • chunkala - May 5, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Both so right just need to stop Bettman’s unbelievable stubbornness when it comes to these markets, southern ones especially. He’s such a terrible businessman, he would just stay in business to say that he “owned a business”, regardless if he lost millions each year.

      • jonnyhammersticks - May 5, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        Horrible businessman? Maybe he’s not a hockey guy but like it or not he’s a fantastic businessman. From a purely business standpoint the NHL has thrived under his watch, especially since the 04-05 lockout.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 5, 2014 at 5:14 PM

        Bettman is a giant db and not a hockey guy but there’s no way you can claim the NHL hasn’t thrived since he’s come on board, especially in recent years with the NBC tv deal.

      • lindenfrank123 - May 5, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        who gives a rat’s behind if he’s a good businessman…he’s ruined the NHL just like he ruined the NBA…don’t think the NBA folks think he’s such a great business man

    • storminator16 - May 5, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      Why.

    • comeonnowguys - May 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Because having ownership issues, bad lease agreements or lack of butts in seats aren’t a good thing on their own, let alone in some combination?

    • greatmiamisportsmind - May 5, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      You can stop with the Panthers relocating anytime soon now. There is no way the NHL will let a team that is top 5 in ad revenue, as a last place team leave. There is no way Broward Cpunty will let them leave after forking out 4.2 million for a new scoreboard before last season. With a new owner who is committed to South Florida and is willing to spend money to get decent talent in, fans will show up again.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        You do know that the last several owners have complained that they are unable to make a profit with the team right?

      • greatmiamisportsmind - May 5, 2014 at 5:32 PM

        Right, but if you actually dig into the whole Panthers ownership, instead of what you want to be true, you’d know the Panthers are just a small portion that makes up Sunrise Sports or whatever the heck it’s called. Yes, the Panthers as an individual identity itself loses money, and that is what the team is using to renegotiate a better lease (which is already pretty good). The Panthers also make money off every concert and every other event. So next summer when the NHL draft shows up, the Panthers make all the money. Last night when some broad named Lady Gaga was their, the Panthers are the ones who makes the money.

    • titansbro - May 5, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      makes wayyyy more sense to move those 2 teams rather than expanding.

  2. snipedanglecelly13 - May 5, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    The Seattle seals, like the nfl they’ll be home of the “6th man” lol

    • comeonnowguys - May 5, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      Did they steal that from the Texas Tech hockey team as well?

      • jernster21 - May 5, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Texas A&M.

      • comeonnowguys - May 5, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Thanks, sorry.

    • esracerx46 - May 5, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      Seattle Sound. Because of the geography and to pay homage to grunge. Seals reminds me of the Golden Seals.

      • wjarvis - May 5, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        Pretty sure their not going to have a hockey team called the Sound, when they have a soccer team called the Sounders. Before you dismiss that because it’s MLS, consider that the Sounders have had average attendance of over 40k the past two years, and has had an average over 30k since they joined the league

      • titansbro - May 5, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        i like the metropolitans, like the old days. they won a stanley cup right?

      • avfanforlife - May 5, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        Metropolitans would be good, but probably not happen because of the new Metr. Division in the east.
        Personally, just get them here already and call them whatever they want. Portland too, and that would even up the confs.

  3. flyboystransport - May 5, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    The nhl doesn’t like the panthers lease agreement which is where Quebec comes in to play. The new alignment gets re approved by the players assc next season which is when expansion starts getting a serious look

    • greatmiamisportsmind - May 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      Actually the NHL has zero problems with the Panthers lease. The Panthers are owned under an umbrella of other things. The Panthers make their money off every other shoe/act/convention that is held at BB&T Center. Any losses the Panthers incur are written off on taxes, which makes the team viable in Sunrise.

      • flyboystransport - May 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        Then why did it take 3 years to sell them?

      • imgoingtowichita - May 5, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    • lindenfrank123 - May 5, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      people in Quebec have waited a long time for a hockey team to come back…and Canada deserves one…Winnepeg folks have shown they should have never lost theirs…

  4. jgreiner9 - May 5, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    I’m ready for a team here in Houston!

    • micasa81 - May 5, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      Houston wouldn’t be the worst choice for a new/relocated team, but I’m afraid to say it’s far from the best. I’m glad you’re ready though.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - May 5, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        Houston let the Aeros go because they felt Toyota Center could make more money by having other events

  5. comeonnowguys - May 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    If Florida does move, then they’d probably have to trade a team in the Metropolitan so that Tampa isn’t by itself in a northeast division, but they’d probably have to break up a rivalry to do that, which they would never do.

    Unless it’s Chicago/Detroit.

    No. I’m still not over it.

    • westinpat - May 5, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Swap in Carolina. That keeps all the big rivalry teams together in the Metropolitan, while Carolina and Tampa Bay can start creating a new rivalry.

      • storminator16 - May 5, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Not sure if serious. I think many of you are hung up on geography a tad too much.

      • comeonnowguys - May 5, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        It’s a bigger issue in the West. Travel AND time zones. A big reason to care.

  6. sw19womble - May 5, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Move the Panthers up to Seattle, just to mess with Luongo’s head.

    I’m sure he’ll be able to hear the Canucks boo-birds from 120 miles away.

    • comeonnowguys - May 5, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      I kind of think Luongo would love that.

  7. jgreiner9 - May 5, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Houston is a top 5 market in the US. Now is as good a time as ever. Plus I’d like to not have to drive up to Dallas to see the Rangers play.

    • chunkala - May 5, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Not for hockey it isn’t.
      Just like LA is #2 market for football but residents could care less.
      You can’t sell ice to Eskimos and it’s very hard to market a product nobody wants.

    • micasa81 - May 5, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      I’d hazard a guess that Dallas/Ft. Worth is a top 4 market, and the Stars aren’t doing a roaring business at the moment. As chunkala said, when it comes to hockey markets, generic sports data goes out the window.

      It’s not that there aren’t plausible scenarios for successful franchises in Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, etc. You get a great, committed owner with a building, who deals respectfully with local government and markets the team well, is willing to spend what’s necessary to build a good team, has the wisdom to hire a good GM and then GTFO of the decision room…yeah, I could see expansion to a large Southern market working in that scenario. The problem is, that’s a friggin’ dream scenario, and not just for Southern markets, for *any* market. And to top it all off, part of that scenario’s success depends upon the *guaranteed fact* that there is always a generous sprinkling of numb-nuts owners in the other markets who are bungling the on-ice product portion in some fashion, and therefore providing the well-run (and lucky) teams with fodder for year-in, year-out success. All of this to say, when the NHL looks at a possible expansion market, they’re considering whether the fundamentals are there for a franchise to survive the very real possibility it ends up with one of the aforementioned numb-nuts owners in its infancy. I don’t think Houston quite makes that list.

      • titansbro - May 5, 2014 at 12:49 PM

        The Preds have done very well in a Southern market. They have great crowds. Maybe that’s the model?

      • comeonnowguys - May 5, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        Don’t get me wrong, I would love a stronger rivalry with Nashville and was was kind of bummed that one didn’t sprout from the 2010 playoff series.

        But it’s a see of red whenever Chicago’s in town. If their model is attracting out-of-towners, then they nailed it.

  8. dubblelznhell - May 5, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Vegas should never get a team. It’ll be a sideshow there like everything else. There’s a reason none of the 4 major league sports exist there.

    • pastabelly - May 5, 2014 at 5:51 PM

      There IS a reason and it more closely relates to gambling.

  9. greej1938l - May 5, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Keep trying to get canada the Stanley cup again…it just isn’t working !

  10. muckleflugga - May 5, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    seattle has a lot of money so it’s a good choice for the nhl since immediate reward for existing franchises is the nhl’s prima facie need … unless boeing finds a way to send the work to mexico as has bombardier after stephen harper’s most recent sellout of canadian jobs

    panthers are not going anywhere as long as all other teams need a winter holiday –january trips to calgary, edmonton, siberia and winnipeg don’t cut it

    quebec city, like atlanta, will go bust yet again …

    i’m not sure if the french are too discriminating or too cheap … once off montréal island, quebecers are deeply suspicious of anything from the english they can’t get for free, or through threat of referenda

    bettman knows the french are easily offended, and will use any excuse to attack english institutions … they holler racism over any slight, despite being possessed of a culture fundamentally racist in both manner and law

    the money’s bubbling out of the ground in alberta so fans in calgary and edmonton would buy season tickets to watch a pig show if you dressed it in nhl gear, evident over the past tens years or so regardless … you could bring nhl franchises to red deer and lethbridge and they’d sell out

    surely talk of a las vegas franchise is a joke …

    there is no sector of the economy quicker to feel massive downward economic shifts than is the casino trade … checked out las vegas real estate recently … the turn-over is incredible, and there are great buys to be had for anyone with a tolerance for 118 degree fahrenheit spring evenings

    has anybody considered ciudad juárez or mexico city, the current state of nhl play would be a natural fit … less crime and murder than toronto, wot

    • kaptaanamerica - May 5, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      Hate on the French Canadians much? Anglo hatred of the French still going strong… who else you hate?

  11. jgreiner9 - May 5, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Les Alexander, owner of the Rockets, has been adamant about bringing a NHL franchise to Houston. Les has been trying to bring the NHL to Houston for the past decade. So we have the owner in place and a building (the Toyota center, which supported the IHL Aeros for years until they moved). I’m pretty sure Houston is ready.
    Ppl also didn’t think the Dynamo, our MLS team, would find enough support to warrant their own stadium and yet they have their own and it’s virtually a near sellout every home game. There’s plenty support here for good franchises.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - May 5, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      Houston is so ready for an NHL, they were willing to support a team that left Toyota Center because, Toyota Center felt it could make more money but NOT having a hockey team their.

  12. jgreiner9 - May 5, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    NHL would bring more money than IHL with the Aeros.

  13. gbart22 - May 5, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    If it were me I’d expand by 4 teams it won’t be perfect symmetry but I’d add 3 teams out west Saskatchewan, Seattle and Portland and then in the east Quebec. I’d stay away from Las Vegas but that is me.

    • titansbro - May 5, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      Portland, no. Seattle, yes. Kansas City, maybe.

      • bullwinkle88 - May 5, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        Portland yes, Seattle & K.C. no.

  14. darksidecowboy - May 5, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Seattle and Houston for the west, Quebec for the East

    Seattle Metro’s (Metropolitans hockey tradition) or Sasquatch
    Houston Apollos (Space program)
    Quebec Nordiques

    what say you hockey fans?

  15. President Charles Logan - May 5, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    How about putting a 2nd team in Philadelphia??? seeing how every Spring when the Flyers choke , the fans will have another team to cling on to for hope!

  16. gbart22 - May 5, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    And here’s why all of you people who continually bash southern markets are morons. You think small you have no vision of the future and are solely worried with the hear and now. When running a business the idea is to expose your product to as many people as possible not just cater to your existing base. If you want the nhl to remain small and puny and a regional sport then yes you keep it in the north and cater to the people who are already buying the product regardless if they have a team or not. You have less appeal nationally you don’t get those big tv contracts and you stay relatively insignificant on a national scale.

    Moving south exposing new areas to the product was never going to be easy and everyone knew that when they agreed to do it but it’s something that had to be done and it takes generations for it to pay off and grow a fan base. Had Crosby ended up in Atlanta we’d all be singing a different tune about Atlanta and the jets would still be mired in nostalgia. The increase in youth hockey across the board in the south is a testament to the success of the expansion south. Players are being drafted in the first round that are coming from Florida, Texas, Southern California and those kids got into because they were fans of the game and exposed to it and their kids will grow up spending money as fans and buying the product and so on and so fourth and before you know it you have a really decent size fan base and the ratings go up nationally and you big contracts and your sport thrives. But again it takes multiple generations of fans growing up to build that fan base and unless youre lucky enough in the draft to land a game changing superstar you aren’t going to win over the fair weather fans which is what every league goes after

    • FreewayJim - May 5, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Had Atlanta built a Hockey Arena in the northern suburbs where the vast majority fan base is (like the Braves are finally doing) and had remotely competent management they’d still be there and would be doing well..

    • greatmiamisportsmind - May 5, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      Is that why one of the largest growing areas for youth hockey is South Florida?

      Florida can and would support a NHL team, had previous ownerships actually attempted to put a decent product on the ice, fans would show up. Look no further than 2012-13 coming off a division championship Florida came close to selling out BB&T Center (the 6th largest NHL building by the way) at 97.3% for the season, coming off a lockout. It doesn’t matter if your Phoenix, Chicago, Minnesota, Winnipeg, or Montreal, when your hockey team misses the playoffs 12 out of 13 seasons, selling tickets would be hard. Look how few fans showed up in the great hockey markets of Pittsburgh and Chicago before Crosby/Malkin and Kane/Towes. They were a tough sell before then.

  17. ck44sps - May 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    A team in Milwaukee Wisconsin would be awesome epically if the Bucks get a new stadium. Or Move the Bucks to Seattle! The Milwaukee Lights!

    • greatmiamisportsmind - May 5, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      I thought Milwaukee was a suburb of Chicago

  18. killerpgh - May 5, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    I can’t see Vegas getting a team. When the NHL (NFL, NBA and the NCAA as well) came out against sports betting and sued New Jersey in 2012 when NJ wanted to legalize sport betting. Putting a team in Vegas would go against everything they argued against with NJ.

  19. justinhbhb - May 5, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Nhl will expand during the 100 year anniversary. This way they get all the media attention, the teams have more to share with the front loaded Canadian tv contract money and better idea of market stability like in Florida and phoenix while also gonna time to build arenas… Also keeps the NHL on tract to the billion dollar increase in HHR they ha was a goal.

  20. greatmiamisportsmind - May 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Expansion is inevitable, but realistically no teams are moving anytime soon.

  21. muckleflugga - May 5, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    kaptaanamerica

    not to belabour a point, but do you actually read the news …?

    the parti québécois were about to ram a provincial constitution down the throats of its population that was elementally racist

    had they not lost, it would have been challenged in federal courts because it violated our very constitution … they lost, but the same racists still hold 30 seats in the national assembly of québec

    they still ban use of the english language on signage, anywhere … this in canada, an english speaking country … yet we suffer the french language on national signage

    i’ve listened to québec whine for the better part of fifty five years … every man woman and child in alberta has paid upwards of $2500 per year in equalization payments to québec since the early sixties … but it’s not enough, they want it all, money and sovereignty

    it never ends

    i’ve played french teams in tournament hockey since 1988 … all good guys but they dish-out the anti-english trash continually … when they get it back in kind, they whine … i’ve discovered everyone who disagrees with the french is a racist

    recently, ron maclean questioned why a french referee born in québec was refereeing a montréal game … a problem evident to anyone with the gift of vision on the wave-off of a key tampa goal

    ron maclean was instantly branded a racist … by effing racists … one is left to ask if the chronic in-breeding has lead to the stupidity

    it never ends … take your bleating about hating québec, fold to sharp point, then insert it up your ass

  22. lindenfrank123 - May 5, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    hey Garry how bout you get your head out of that orifice and start addressing the putrid officiating going on this year in the Stanley Cup Playoffs…it’s an embarassment

  23. vstar1us - May 5, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Minnesota needs a team!

  24. kane987245 - May 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Bring back the Whalers…..? =[

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