When it comes to expansion, specifically a potential Las Vegas franchise, the NHL’s top executives may be about to go all-in.
And NHL officials no longer are striking down the notion that expansion might be on the horizon. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Monday that, while in Las Vegas for other business this past weekend, he met again with a potential ownership group that has expressed an interest in owning a franchise.
Daly, in an interview in his Manhattan office, said he also got a chance to tour the site next to New York New York Hotel and Casino where a $350 million, 20,000-seat arena is being built by MGM Resorts. MGM also has had preliminary talks with the potential owners who want the arena to house their prospective NHL team. The arena is expected to be completed by 2016, and Daly looked at suite mock-ups: “It’s nice,” he said.
The position of the NHL has been to deny the reports and rumors of immediate expansion plans. That includes the idea of a potential team in Seattle – at least that was according to a report at the start of this season in October.
While speculation of a potential Seattle team has been on and off for years now, talk of a possible Las Vegas franchise has been gaining significant traction through the past few months.
“I know Las Vegas is an important city,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in June, prior to the league awards in that same city. “Whether or not it’s a city for the NHL to put a team in is still to be determined.”
Later last month, Dan D’Arrigo of MGM Resorts International said MGM is in talks with a group about possibly bringing the NHL to that 20,000-seat arena currently being built.