A quick note before I head into several meetings and appointments on what may be a slower-than-usual Thursday:
The NHL is on the verge of opening up its expansion process. The expected fee for an expansion team is $500 million – one of the factors why the NHL appears so hesitant to relocate any current team – with an application fee of one million (but may inflate as high as $10 million, according to the Seattle Times).
At this point, league expansion to Las Vegas appears all but certain, which would provide the Kings an immediate rival and another sorely needed team within the regional footprint of the loosely constellated Pacific Division. After Las Vegas, the landscape is more complicated. Quebec City’s new arena is ready, and Quebecor has made it clear that it has interest in bidding for a franchise. There is no new arena in Seattle, nor has there been any change to the memorandum of understanding between the city, King County and developer Chris Hansen that stipulates a new arena can only be built if an NBA team has already been secured via relocation or expansion. Ray Bartoszek is expected to submit an application on behalf of his privately financed plan to secure a team and build an arena in the southern Seattle suburb of Tukwila as part of a rival plan. Kansas City is not in the mix, and Milwaukee is also probably out as well.
At least one Toronto-area group plans to contact the National Hockey League in the near future regarding the efforts to land a second team to the self-proclaimed Centre of the Hockey Universe.
GTA Sports and Entertainment CEO Graeme Roustan, who has been attempting to construct an 18,000-plus seat arena in the Markham area for several years, confirmed Wednesday night that his organization definitely will pursue the opportunity .
“I’d say that in the coming days we intend to reach out to the league about bringing another NHL franchise to southern Ontario,” Roustan said in a phone interview with Postmedia Network.
Sports Illustrated: Steep fee, deadline narrows list of potential new teams
Puck Daddy: Possible Las Vegas NHL arena takes shape in construction (Photos)
Puck Daddy: Proctor, Minnesota wants its own NHL expansion team
Seattle Times: NHL expansion now 3-stage process; first deadline is July 20