Poker star Negreanu: NHL will work in Las Vegas

Elliotte Friedman sits down with prospective Las Vegas NHL owner William Foley to get his thoughts on why the NHL will work in Vegas and his connection with Wayne Gretzky.

The prospective owners looking to bring the NHL to Las Vegas may have found their Drake.

Canadian poker star and Las Vegas resident Daniel Negreanu tweeted that he met with the ownership group, led by businessman William Foley, Friday night.

Though it is uncertain what capacity, if any, the Toronto native would serve with the team, having the game’s No. 1 all-time money-winner promoting your bid can’t hurt exposure.

Another big name, Wayne Gretzky, confirmed to Sportsnet’s John Shannon in December that he would be “unofficially” working with Foley in Vegas, introducing him to business partners.

The NHL has granted Foley permission to host a season-ticket drive to gauge the level of interest in placing an NHL franchise in Vegas.

The 40-year-old Negreanu, who comes by his hockey fandom honestly, wrote a blog in support of the NHL’s potential move to Vegas Friday on fullcontactpoker.com, tackling fans’ fears of corruption, tourism and scheduling.

“I believe strongly that not only will we get a team, but that hockey will work in this sports starved city,” he wrote. “NHL needs to add two teams to the Western Conference and it appears to me that Las Vegas and Seattle are both viable options and frontrunners for a team.

“For many, they wonder how it makes sense to play ice hockey in the desert, but I’m sure the same was said years ago when expansion hit sunny California and that experiment has worked quite well with thriving franchises in LA, Anaheim, and San Jose.”