NHL Says It Has “No Timetable for Expansion”

USATSI_8723291_154158418_lowresThe National Hockey League says it currently has no timetable for expansion, says Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The Board’s executive committee heard presentations from the Las Vegas and Quebec markets on Tuesday, which represented the latest step toward putting teams in those locations. As of right now, there are no deadlines with respect to making a decision. Expansion requires a three-quarters affirmative vote from the NHL’s Board of Governors, but the executive committee first has to recommend a vote. Fun times.

“We are in the process of gathering information,” Bettman said. “There have been no deliberations as to whether or not we want to expand, how many teams, or where. There’s much work to be done.”

There are no scheduled meetings for the executive committee, but the Board of Governors is set to get together in December in Pebble Beach. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has said that they are considering holding yet another meeting to go over the information received on Tuesday from the two expansion bids, however.

“The committee is going to get together at least one more time if not more, and we have to ultimately begin deliberations,” Bettman said. “There are a lot of issues and questions that are going to have to be answered before any decision can be made.”

If the NHL decides on expansion, any new franchises won’t hit the ice until the 2017-2018 season or later. The fee for expansion is expected to be in the neighbourhood of $500 million USD, which in the case of the Quebec bid could mean around $670 million in Canadian funds given current exchange rates.

The Quebec group is headed by members of Quebecor, the Montreal-based communications company. Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is the Chairman of Quebecor, while Pierre Péladeau is the founder and majority shareholder.

The Las Vegas group, called Vegas Wants Hockey, is headed by investor Bill Foley. His Florida-based mortgage and title company is Fidelity National Financial. It’s a Fortune 500 company and is billed as America’s largest provider of residential mortgage and “diversified services.” In the nine months ending in September of 2013, Fidelity National Finance reported revenue of $6.494 billion USD.


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