For those that want to believe that the NHL will ultimately expand to Las Vegas and Quebec City, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs’ words might feel like a splash of cold water.
“There’s a lot of content there. There’s a lot of capability there, but I don’t know if there’s a desire or will within the board of the existing franchises for expansion yet,” Jacobs told ESPN. “They both made pretty interesting proposals. Both have very legitimate arenas in place and organizations in place. There’s a capacity out there, but I don’t know if there’s a will from a league standpoint.”
Jacobs feels the league is doing pretty well with 30 teams. Additionally, given the current geographical setup of the NHL, he would rather see expansion teams sprout up in the west. Las Vegas certainly fits that desire, but Quebec City obviously doesn’t.
That’s not the only thing that gives him pause about the Quebec bid though.
“Take a look at what’s gone up in Nevada — it’s scary. I mean, it really is. It’s a heck of an arena built there, and there’s a strong interest there,” Jacobs said. “Balance the fact, Quebec has a great hockey interest, [but] it’s an extraordinarily small market.”
By contrast, Jacobs feels a franchise in Seattle would be “natural” and he’d love to see a team in Houston. But Quebecor and Bill Foley were the only ones to apply for expansion for Quebec City and Las Vegas respectively, which he feels “speaks volumes.”
In order for the NHL to expand, three-quarters of the Board of Governors would have to give the plan their blessing. The executive committee will make a recommendation before they vote, but it’s worth emphasizing that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that there’s no timetable on that process.
If the league does ultimately expand, Jacobs does believe it won’t take those teams long to become competitive thanks to the salary cap system.