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NHL expansion talks emphatically shot down

Aug 27, 2014, 1:28 PM EST

Last night, the Interweb was set aflame with news that the NHL was going to expand to Las Vegas.

Shortly thereafter, NHL expansion was trending — in addition to Sin City, the likes of Seattle, Quebec City and a second team in Toronto were all bandied about, thanks partly to this tweet from Sports Business News:

On Wednesday, a bucket of cold water was tossed on the whole thing. Make that buckets of cold water.

First, from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly:

“We are in no different position today with respect to expansion than we were the last time we answered the same questions,” he wrote in an email to National Post on Wednesday. “There has been interest expressed, we have and will listen to the interest, but we haven’t defined a process and certainly no decisions have been made.”

Then, from outgoing MLSE CEO and president Tim Leiweke (per Toronto’s Fan 590):

“The commissioner and I had other business this morning, so we talked for a while and this came up. I asked him, ‘did I miss a meeting?’ And he laughed and said, ‘no.’

“What I can tell you, 100 percent, as of this morning, for sure? This isn’t on the agenda right now.”

Finally, there was a report from King 5’s Chris Daniels, who has been on the NHL/NBA-to-Seattle beat for quite some time:

All of this, of course, won’t completely silence rumblings The Province’s Tony Gallagher made with his article on Tuesday, which claimed NHL expansion to Vegas was a “done deal.” The league’s imbalance — 14 teams in the Western Conference, 16 in the Eastern — and potential to score huge revenue with expansion fees are in plain view; the NHL also has some major history with Vegas, having hosted its annual awards show there (and the L.A. Kings have been playing an exhibition series at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for years.)

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Stuff like this bound to happen when people and media outlets confuse Twitter with news. Nice to know journalism now consists of throwing crap at a wall to see what sticks….just make sure you can do it fastest.

    • avfanforlife - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:14 PM

      Yup – a “journalist” wants to break the story. Throw enough crap out there, maybe you’ll get one right and your the man of the hour. Literally “an hour” then on to the next…

      Seattle? – Sure, I’ll bet they get a team…someday… Everyone knows that there needs to be a new building AND an NBA team 1st. Break the story AFTER somebody actually breaks ground!!!!

      Portland? – Likely spot for a team – again – SOMEDAY. This adds 2 west teams and evens the league nicely.

      Vegas? – If you ever see a Done Deal headline, say to yourself, “Not in my lifetime,” then read the story if you have nothing better to do.

  2. steverolley - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Tony Gallagher… enough said

    The fact that this guy is still being taken seriously as a journalist is just plain stupid. He stated “Sources close to the situation have indicated Las Vegas is a done deal” sounds pretty legit. Funny how he doesn’t have any sources inside any Vancouver sports teams but he has friends in high places within the NHL front office?

    • imleftcoast - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      I read TG’s piece in the Province yesterday, and wondered what the basis was for his statement LV was a done deal. This fallout is hilarious. I love Tony’s stuff – true, half-true and just seat of the pants.

      Halford used to ‘work’ at the Province too. I’m hoping for some follow-up.

  3. hockeyflow33 - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    I saw that retweeted last night and I had no idea who the idiot was who wrote the original tweet. His tweet lacked any semblance of intelligence.

    The legal fight Toronto would put up about another franchise moving in to their territory would last way longer than three years, not to mention the logistics of establishing four new rinks

    • calithirteen - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      No way. That was always the argument about another hockey team in NY with the Rangers not allowing but look now at the Islanders. If anything, the Leafs will get a cut a check from the NHL to agree not to sue. Toronto can surely handle another team in that city. I’m more worried about the prospect of putting another NHL team in the desert and expecting better results than Phoenix….I mean Arizona.

      • fightingwild - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        There was something written about when Hamilton came up the first time. It stated that Toronto could not actually sue due to the bylaws of the NHL. I wish I could find it again but I don’t know that the Leafs have any recourse if a franchise is put there.

    • jinx21fan - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      The big thing people forget is another team in TO would do way more damage to the Buffalo Sabres than the Leafs.

  4. murtdurt - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    If the NHL goes to Vegas before Seattle heads should roll at the head office

  5. vancouversportsbro - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Sun belt hockey is a fad. Gary Bettman got over it in the late 90s when it cost the league close to a billion dollars. The Coyotes and Panthers are essentially charity cases that no players want to play for and run by buffoons. Where did these teams get the money to buy out Ribeiro and pay Bolland that ripoff contract?

    • calithirteen - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      disagree. Phoenix is a disaster. Florida has a bad owner. Tampa is killing it down there. What I don’t get is why the NHL doesn’t look toward more norther areas like Portland or Wisconsin. Yeah small markets but can’t be worse than say Nashville or Columbus

      • vancouversportsbro - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:43 PM

        Portland and Seattle would love hockey teams and be more successful than Carolina

  6. ibieiniid - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    I’m kinda concerned with all these cities’ names flying around. I don’t like the possibility of 4 new teams on a couple of fronts.
    The obvious one is that that’s 4 more teams worth of current AHL level players coming into the NHL. 4 teams.
    And secondly, as a fan, that’s 4 more teams I’ll want to follow at least a bit. I’m never gonna get sh** done if I’m following 34 teams in hockey alone. That’s hyperbole of course, but I can’t imagine that a harder-to-follow league is a benefit. Then again, I guess they aren’t counting on the die-hards. More looking for new fans.

  7. Hard to BeLeaf - Aug 27, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    I don’t like the idea of expansion. The talent in the league is already diluted enough. Relocate teams that routinely lose money and rely on visiting fans to fill the seats. There’s more than enough of those teams. There’s plenty hockey markets out there. Seattle, Quebec, Toronto 2, Hamilton, Milwaukee or Portland could all support a team better than Vegas.

  8. pwshrugged - Aug 27, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    They need to balance out the divisions one way or another. It seems to me that if expansion wasn’t being planned in the near future, they would have split the new conferences 15/15, and kept Columbus in the West (however unfair that may have been).

    Seems to me that two Western expansion teams are inevitable. I’m not sure how many legitimate markets there are beyond Seattle; Seattle and Portland seem to share sports a lot, although obviously both cities supported independent NBA teams for a time. Seattle/Vegas seem most likely. I’d love to see some expansions in the East, in Hartford or Quebec or Hamilton… lots of hockey markets out there, just only so much space in the league.

  9. blackhawks2010 - Aug 27, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    Seattle > Any other Candidate for NHL, Not even close.

    • jinx21fan - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:30 PM

      Seattle = Quebec City > Any other candidate for expansion team.

      There isn’t another market (not in the NHL) out there, anywhere, that has a more rabid hockey fan base than QC.

  10. penguins87and71 - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    I think a NHL team going to Seattle will happen whether it be expansion or relocation. It just makes to much sense to put a NHL team in Seattle. The Seattle fans are pretty passionate about their sports, and it would create a great rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks.

  11. fantasticmrhandsome - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    The feeling here in Vegas is that it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the NHL will expand here now that an NBA/NHL ready arena is being built. I would be willing to bet that we get a team over Seattle or Quebec because the NHL wants to be here.

    And then nobody will go to the games because it’s not basketball.

  12. mnwildandcaps8 - Aug 29, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    I am getting irritated about all this back and forth. I think they need Two more teams in the west to balance the two conferences. I really think that Seattle should be one because of the great rivalry that could be born with the Canucks. I believe that if they get an NHL team in Seattle it could attract a NBA team. Portland should get a team as well. I think they could attract a lot of fans. I also think Quebec needs a new team. Like someone said earlier I think they had a plan to expand after they moved Detroit and Columbus over to the east. I guess we will see what happens though.

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