Las Vegas and Quebec City are moving on to the second of three phases in their bids to land National Hockey League (NHL) expansion franchises.
The ownership groups trying to bring the first major sports franchise to Las Vegas and Quebec City both announced Wednesday that the league has invited them to participate in the second phase of the league’s expansion process.
Bill Foley, leading the Las Vegas bid, announced on his group’s website vegaswantshockey.com that they have received an invitation from the NHL to advance on the next phase. Quebecor also posted on its Twitter account that Quebec City has been retained for the next level.
“In this phase, we will be providing the League with additional information, including information about the Las Vegas market and the MGM AEG Arena being developed between Monte Carlo and New York New York. We will also be permitted access to information provided by the League that it deems important to us. We are hopeful that at the conclusion of this phase, the League will invite us to participate in Phase III,” said Foley.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, during the press conference for the Stadium Series game between the Wild and Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium, also called the next phase “a deliberate process” where bidders will be required to share financials and market information but he reiterated that the bidders moving on to the next level would not mean a sure expansion for the league.
“With two bona fide applications that we’re looking at, we could have two teams, you could have one team and we could do no expansion,” said Bettman.
The NHL Board of Governors is expected to meet in September.
Daniel Negreau wants a piece of NHL Las Vegas franchise
Meanwhile, Daniel Negreanu, one of the founders of Founding 75, a group of business people in Las Vegas who assisted during the team’s ticket drive, said that he plans to buy a share of Foley’s NHL franchise if and when the NHL gives the green light.
Negreanu told Toronto Sun that Las Vegas is 99.9% certain to get a professional hockey team, which would likely be awarded in 2017 and that he would own a piece of it.
“I just don’t see it not happening. We have a solid owner, an arena (nearing completion on the Strip with 17,500 seats for hockey) and we sold 13,000 season tickets, said Negreanu. “Vegas has 2.2m people. It’s a sports town. We’ve been starving for a professional franchise of any kind for many years.”