The NHL continues to proceed cautiously on expansion as the league’s 10-member executive committee met Wednesday in New York to discuss what to do next.
Las Vegas and Quebec City have formally applied to join the 30-team NHL. But there was nothing forthcoming from the meeting to indicate the NHL is any closer to making a decision. The fee to join is expected to be $500 million per team.
A source with knowledge of the meeting who wished to remain anonymous said that while both bids were discussed, no decisions were made and the process will continue. That was pretty much what Bill Foley, the billionaire businessman who is heading Las Vegas’ bid, thought would happen.
“I would say it’s expected news,” said Foley, who was not invited to the meeting at the NHL’s Manhattan office. “We didn’t think any decisions were going to be made.”
Foley said a final decision is still a couple of months away. The Board of Governors will meet at next week’s NHL All-Star Game in Nashville, Tenn., and will be brought up to speed by the executive committee, which is chaired by Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.
“I think it will be March or April, and then we can start putting one foot in front of another,” said Foley, adding that he doesn’t plan to attend the All-Star Game.
Foley sensed that the owners are struggling to find a solution for a potential expansion draft. The NHL Players Association said it expects the owners to honor the contract of any player that has a “no move” clause and not subject that player to expansion.
“I think it’s complicated for the other owners,” he said. “I’m sure the draft is something they’re struggling with.”
As he has said many times since filing his application July 20, Foley said the key is being patient.
“It’s a little more complicated than we probably expected it to be when we put our application in last July,” he said. “I think we’re at the point where it’s just patience and letting the process take its course.”
— Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.