NHL ticket deposit refunds depend on when the team starts

Bill Foley and his Hockey Vision Las Vegas initiative are forging ahead in hopes of starting an NHL team for the 2016-17 season.

But that scenario looks overly ambitious, so the 2017-18 season is likely the earliest a prospective team in Las Vegas would start play in light of the NHL Board of Governors possibly voting on a Las Vegas franchise in September.

And that raises a season ticket deposit refund question: Would fans who plunked down a minimum of $150 for a ticket deposit be eligible to receive refunds if an NHL team started play in 2017 instead of 2016?

The answer is yes — technically, fans who paid deposits could get a full refund if the team starts plays in 2017, instead of 2016. There would be no refunds if a team started play in the 2016-17 season.

Foley’s group explained the refund policy this week in a Facebook post.

“We are working very hard on a team to play in 2016. If we were to be awarded a team for 2017-18 instead, which hasn’t happened yet, then depositors would have the option of having their deposit refunded,” the post said.

But Todd Pollock, Hockey Vision ticket sales director, said if people do get refunds, they lose priority in their seat choices.

“If they decided to get a refund, they would lose priority in seating choices. If you have any other specific questions about refunds, please email info@vegaswantshockey.com,” the Facebook post said.

In other words, fans who get a refund but then want to buy a season ticket deal in the future “go back to the end of the line,” Foley said Thursday.

Las Vegas hockey fan Mark Warner, owner of Vegas­HockeyPodcast, said he doesn’t think fans will ask for refunds if the teams starts in 2017 instead of in 2016.

“I am certainly not interested in a refund and none of the people I know have mentioned they would be either,” Warner said Thursday.

Pollock wasn’t expecting too many refund requests if the team starts in 2017.

“I do know that people here really want a team and are excited about it, so I don’t anticipate many will cease to support our efforts if they know we are getting awarded a franchise like we all hope,” Pollock 0said.

Foley said if anyone does decide to get a refund, he’ll remain in touch through email: “We’ll be back after them.”

Foley, who has moved from Jacksonville, Fla., to Las Vegas, will be seeing NHL officials in June when the league holds its Board of Governors meeting. No vote on a Las Vegas franchise is expected.

Ticket deposits are above 11,500, after Foley reached his initial goal of 10,000 a few weeks ago.

Foley, who is partnering with the Maloof brothers of Las Vegas on the NHL team, has already reached a lease agreement with the new arena being built on the Strip behind New York-New York. MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) are partnering on the $375 million arena, which would seat 17,500 for hockey.

Pollock also said Thursday that the $150 seat deposit category has been sold out for the upper-bowl sections behind the goals, and there are only 30 seats available for the lower bowl center ice club, which would require a $900 deposit.

With the $150 seats gone, the next cheapest deposit for a season deal would be $300.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel

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