Today is the day when the NHL Board of Governors meet. If there was going to be an expansion announcement for the 2015-16 Season, today would have been the day. Based on the lack of any speculation going around, I think it is safe to say we won’t hear much. Gary Bettman also gave a rather clear message when speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this week. This was not the normal obscure Greenspan-esque talk that we have seen before. He was speaking in context of Las Vegas but the first statement is all you need to read. Here is the quote:
“Right now, we’re not looking to expand. I know Las Vegas is an important city. Whether or not it’s a city for the NHL to put a team in is still to be determined. We have not done any investigating as to whether or not the city could support the NHL or looked at potential ownership groups. If the owners were to approve expansion, we would certainly begin looking more closely at Las Vegas and other potential markets.”
People love to blame Bettman for just about anything but he is not the gating factor. It is clear to me that the NHL is making sure he has the right cities for expansion and not just taking the first 2 with a plan or the two highest bidders. One of those cities is Seattle but it does not mean they will wait forever. The biggest hurdle that remains for Seattle is an arena. Unfortunately that has persisted since 1995 (See “today” section here). We are closer to solving that problem with the Hansen plan but like it or not, we are still dependent on the NBA.
We all know this was going to be a long process so hang in there.
By the way, I would love to be proven wrong here.