Report: NHL expansion to Vegas ‘a done deal’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/CP)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said publicly that expansion isn’t something the league has seriously considered, but a recent report says otherwise.

According to The Vancouver Province’s Tony Gallagher, an expansion team in Las Vegas is “a done deal.”

“Sources close to the situation have indicated Las Vegas is a done deal, the only thing to be determined being which owner will be entitled to proclaim that he brought the first major league sports franchise to Sin City.”

With a team in Las Vegas “all but assured,” Gallagher also implies that talk of a Seattle expansion isn’t without merit as many potential owners – including Vancouver billionaire Victor Coleman – have shown plenty of interest.

The biggest obstacle facing Seattle is the lack of an NHL-calibre arena, as Bettman explained on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in June is that “the building situation is very unsettled and frankly if there was no reasonable prospect of a building coming anytime soon.”

The addition of two teams in the Western Conference would pull it even with the 16-team Eastern Conference. However, Gallagher indicates the NHL could expand beyond only two teams, mentioning Quebec City and Kansas City.