In the 24 hours since it set sail from New York, the Good Ship Bettman hasn’t sprung any leaks. But it’s a long way until it docks June 22 in Las Vegas, and the decisions made by the NHL’s executive committee Tuesday regarding expansion very well could be public knowledge by then.
The nine-member committee comprised of owners from Boston, Anaheim, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Toronto and Washington met for about four hours Tuesday at the league office in Manhattan and made their recommendations regarding expansion. Las Vegas and Quebec City are the two cities that submitted bids in July when the process formally opened.
The NHL’s Board of Governors is scheduled to meet the morning of June 22 at Encore to vote on the committee’s suggestions, and any announcements would be made by commissioner Gary Bettman that afternoon before the NHL Awards Show at the Hard Rock Hotel.
The NHL did not issue a statement after the meeting, which set off a new round of rumors. Blogs were reporting the deal was done and Las Vegas was getting its team. There were reports expansion was being put on hold. There were reports the Carolina Hurricanes were being sold to Bill Foley, the billionaire businessman who is behind the Las Vegas expansion bid.
The Raleigh News & Observer talked Wednesday to Bettman, who said there was no truth to speculation about the Hurricanes being sold and moved. Foley often has said his focus was on getting an expansion team and not relocating some other city’s franchise.
Foley was not at Tuesday’s meeting, and if he knows what happened, he’s not saying. There’s probably a threat of a large fine by the NHL to anyone who leaks information to the media.
But even Bettman admitted last week he anticipates word to get out before June 22. Once the agenda for the Board of Governors meeting is sent to the 30 teams in the coming days, it’s likely that what was private will become public.
Contact Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow on Twitter: @stevecarprj