Prior to the deadline, the National Hockey League received requests from 16 different groups and individuals for the expansion process. They sent out applications, as per procedure.
It was expected that a group from Seattle would apply, but nothing materialized in time for the deadline. Another ownership group from Toronto reportedly considered applying.
Now it’s down to Quebecor, who submitted a bid to bring the Nordiques back to Quebec City, and Bill Foley, who applied for the Vegas franchise.
Quebecor has the Videotron Centre, an indoor arena currently under construction in Quebec City. The facility is set to replace the Colisée Pepsi, which was the former home of the Nordiques. It’s set to open in September and will host NHL preseason hockey, with a $400 million price tag. Despite there being no guarantee of the Nordiques landing in Quebec City, taxpayers are footing the bill for the fancy new digs.
Meanwhile in Las Vegas, Foley’s well-documented path to hockey has included the construction of a new arena on the strip that is set to open in spring of 2016. A ticket drive produced 14,000 deposits, give or take.
The NHL will now be focusing “exclusively” on these two applications as it pushes forward on the bids. There’s quite a bit more to the processes.
For now, both bids submitted their proposals and their respective $10 million application fees. Considering that the total cost of an NHL franchise is expected to be in the $500 million neighbourhood, ownership groups have had no trouble ponying up the green for the chance at making their mark.
“Apparently, only Mr. Foley and Quebecor have the confidence in their ability to secure an arena and suitable ownership capability to move forward with this process,” the league said in a surprisingly snarky statement.
Any NHL expansion approved from this round of applicants will hit the league come the 2017-2018 season. Las Vegas and Seattle were once thought to be the best options, but the Seattle bid(s) seem to have collapsed for the time being. Vegas is one of the more realistic options, given the arena and the current viability of the ownership group.