hockey in Las Vegas

Quebec City, Vegas advance to final phase of NHL expansion process

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It appears as if both Las Vegas and Quebec City are going deep into the NHL expansion process.

Friday marked a big day in that regard, as Quebecor confirmed that they’re in “Phase III” while Puck Daddy’s Josh Cooper reports that Vegas accomplished the same task.

These reports are also backed up by TVA’s L.A. Lariviere.

It’s pretty much impossible to make “How many phases are there” type jokes – some prefer Austin Powers references, others might throw in “American Werewolf in London” – but the Associated Press indicates that this might be the final step.

A person familiar with the process told The Associated Press that the third stage involves the NHL reviewing the company’s business plan and revenue projections. If approved, the league would be in a position to award an expansion franchise as early as next month, the person added.

In case you skimmed that paragraph too quickly, let’s underline it: the league could award one or both cities an expansion franchise as early as September.

Wild stuff, right?

Related:

Post expansion, could NHL realign with eight divisions?

Bettman doesn’t think loonie’s decline will make expansion to Quebec City a problem

Looks like Las Vegas’ NHL-friendly arena is coming along nicely

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Imagine this: hitting a casino, checking out an NHL game and then popping over to In-N-Out Burger.

ESPN’s Arash Markazi went on a tour of the arena being built in Las Vegas, and it sure looks like the progress is promising. Maybe most importantly, Markazi reports that that arena may be completed in 260 days (but let’s say “within a year” to be safe).

You should check out his Twitter feed for every shot, but here are a few other highlights:

source:

Markazi pointed out that the greasy burger, hidden menu mecca is within walking distance of that building, so his feed is worth checking out to get a fuller picture.

(H/T to The Score.)

MGM in early talks to attract NHL team to Las Vegas

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There have been plenty of rumors about people trying to lure an NHL team – expansion or otherwise – to Las Vegas. The latest story came Thursday, as an exec from MGM Resorts acknowledged “preliminary talks” with a group hoping to accomplish just that, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Fox 5 Vegas reported.

“We would be supportive of an NHL team coming to our arena,” MGM Resorts International Dan D’Arrigo said. “We’re highly interested and we have been in discussions with a group.”

D’Arrigo didn’t speculate about whether such a scenario would involve relocating a current team or gaining an expansion franchise.

Here’s an interesting tidbit, though: MGM is teaming up with AEG (owner of the Los Angeles Kings) to bring a $350 million arena to Las Vegas. This post’s main image is an artist’s rendering of what such an arena might look like, while the Las Vegas Review-Journal shared this video from the groundbreaking in May:

“It’s a big day for Las Vegas. It’s a big day for Nevada. It’s a big day for entertainment,” MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said. “We need to create the experience tourists are so yearning for. They want to be wowed.”

Again, this is far from the first time Vegas moguls have been tied to NHL expansion/relocation rumors, yet it’s interesting to see executives publicly acknowledging such interest.

One week ago, billionaire William Foley’s name was being thrown around, possibly in a potential deal to relocate the Arizona Coyotes. The NHL fired such talk down and has repeatedly denied expansion rumors in general, yet commissioner Gary Bettman admitted back in June that the league would look at Las Vegas “more closely” if expansion does become a reality.

(Click here for more Bettman on Vegas from May.)

There hasn’t been a specific response to this specific situation, which isn’t surprising since MGM hasn’t named the potentially interested group and seems to merely be dipping its toes in the water.

In the odd chance this situation comes to fruition and an NHL team ends up calling that MGM/AEG-owned arena its home, here’s a request on behalf of beat reporters repeatedly beleaguered by the Columbus Blue Jackets cannon: play the sound of slot machines pouring out coins after a home-team goal instead of the MGM lion growl:

Related

NBC’s Dan Patrick says Las Vegas will have an NHL team by 2016

NHL-to-Vegas talks gained steam in August

Vegas talk from back in 2013

The Kings haven’t been shy about playing in Sin City

The market was hyped as a good spot for hockey even back in 2011