As expected, the NHL has decided to expand to Las Vegas. They will roll the dice literally and hope organizers are able to come up with a whopping $500 million fee. Just how crazy a number is that? Try $420 million more than the last expansion when Columbus and Minnesota paid $80 million to enter the league in 2000.
Well, it is Vegas. So, I doubt that will be problem. Get ready for hockey fans to have a new reason to visit Vegas. They can now go see NHL hockey while frequenting casinos and playing their favorite gambling games. Blackjack. Craps. Slot machines. All rolled into one.
Las Vegas has indicated that they have reached 14,000 season ticket deposits for T-Mobile Arena. It seats up to 20,000 for big events featuring concerts, boxing, UFC and basketball. For hockey, the seating arrangement will be 17,500. That’s almost 1,000 more than Barclays Center for Islander games.
Assuming prospective Vegas owner Bill Foley pays the fee, Vegas will be in play for the 2017-18 season. They would become the 31st NHL team. Obviously, they would become the 15th team in the Western Conference. Currently, the West features 14 teams or two less than a 16-team East.
Eventually, there will probably be room for one more expansion team. Hopefully, in Quebec City who also was strongly considered. They haven’t had a team since the former Quebec Nordiques left following ’95 becoming the Colorado Avalanche.
The NHL could also consider Seattle or Kansas City if they want to properly balance the conferences. We’ll have to wait and see.
As for what the Las Vegas team will be called, the current bid is run by a company named Black Knight Sports and Entertainment. So, the Las Vegas Black Knights? Eh. I am all for the Las Vegas High Rollers. I know it’ll never happen. But it should be something that defines Vegas. Stars is out because of Dallas.
Let’s roll some dice and see what they come up with.