NHL takes first step towards expansion in Las Vegas
Gary Bettman confirmed a season-tickets test in Las Vegas during the NHL Board of Governors meeting.
The first day of the annual NHL Board of Governors meeting concluded with no big news but a few tidbits of information that hint at an upcoming expansion to Las Vegas and a sale of the Arizona Coyotes.
It’s no secret that the league is looking to expand, but the real question is where they will begin. Right now it appears that Las Vegas is the most immediate option the league is looking at. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed on Monday that the league granted potential Las Vegas owner Bill Foley permission to begin a season-ticket drive to test potential area interest.
It’s the first step towards what some reports say is the inevitable.
Source told me yesterday that Vegas expansion team could “be announced before end of year.” That’s the scuttlebutt.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 8, 2014
That’s not to say the league isn’t interested in cities like Seattle or Quebec City, and we could hear more about those options throughout the week as owners continue to meet. At this point, however, it seems the NHL has their sights set on Nevada. Though, officially, interest is all there is.
Bettman also provided owners with an update on the salary cap for the 2015-16 season, which is projected to rise from $69 million to $74 million. That’s great news for teams already close to the cap ceiling. It’s bad news for the Buffalo Sabres, who need to spend about $15 million to reach the projected $54 million cap floor.
The final tidbit from the first day of meetings involves the sale of the Arizona Coyotes. CEO Anthony LeBlanc reported to the Board of Governors on Monday that the sale’s paperwork was finalized last week and the deal should close by the end of the year.
Arizona’s current owners recently denied reports they had ordered GM Don Maloney to shed payroll in anticipation of a deal falling through.