Exciting news Las Vegas-ites and hockey fans alike; the first major league sports team to ever play in Las Vegas is supposedly set to happen. Sports Illustrated reports that the leagues expansion is almost a “done deal”, amidst previous statements from Gary Bettman that it was just talk. The question that fans ask now is not whether or not it will not happen but instead when it will happen.
Tony Gallagher from The Province says
“Sources close to the situation have indicated Las Vegas is a done deal, the only thing to be determined being which owner will be entitled to proclaim that he brought the first major league sports franchise to Sin City.”
This could be a revolutionary thing, bringing a professional team to Las Vegas, but that is not the only team in the talks. The top two biggest expansions currently in the talks are a team in Seattle and Las Vegas. Many other city names have been said, but the two that are the most likely.
Since the original report was given, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daley has denied the claims of expansion. Gary Bettman in June did not completely shut down the idea of a team in Vegas, but instead said that they needed to figure out if it was the right move. Since the rumors have come out, Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews has made it very clear that he does not think having a team in Las Vegas will do the league any good. In a tweet from Chris Kuc, Toews divulged to him:
“I’d have a tough time believing any team would have a good road record coming into Vegas”
A report released from CBS wrote that the owners of the Los Angeles Kings are directly involved with the building of the new sports arena being built in Vegas set to open in 2016. They also already expect to house hockey, which will seat 17,500 observers. On top of that, the building group who is currently building the Edmonton Oilers new arena, is the same group building the arena in Las Vegas. Luc Robitaille, ex-King’s player and current President of Business Operations for L.A., attended the ground breaking ceremony in May.
The expansion will probably not happen for a good amount of time, but the hope can still be there for hockey fans in the desert! Don’t count Las Vegas out as one of the new teams quite yet, people! Who knows what a couple years can do!