While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spent Tuesday touring an arena under construction on the Las Vegas Strip, NHLPA executive Donald Fehr has yet to have a significant role in the process.
Appearing on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and Ken Reid, Fehr said he hasn’t taken part in any discussions with the NHL involving the Las Vegas market.
“We’re not involved, in any direct sense, in any of the conversations that would take place between the NHL and the people in Las Vegas,” Fehr said Tuesday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “But we’re watching it with a lot of interest.”
Bettman attended prospective owner Bill Foley’s ticket sales kickoff event at the MGM Grand on Tuesday. Foley, who is partnering with the Maloof brothers, set a goal of at least 10,000 deposits to show that Las Vegas can be a legitimate hockey market.
“We have the arena and we have strong ownership,” Foley said Tuesday. “Now it’s our job to convince the NHL that Las Vegas is ready for hockey.”
According to Fehr, the approach by Foley and his partners is relatively standard.
“In one sense, it’s a fairly traditional thing,” Fehr explained. “You’ve seen in a number of other sports where the local businesses and civic authorities get together. And they want to make a demonstration. We can do this. We can attract people. We can show you the fan base is there. You should treat us seriously. The fact that they’re engaging in a public way — and that they’re confident — is all for the positive.”
The arena, which will seat 17,500 for hockey, is scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2016.
-With files from Associated Press and Chris Johnston