The Vegas Golden Knights will make their official NHL debut when they begin their regular season this Friday against the Dallas Stars. Could another expansion team, perhaps one from much-discussed Seattle, soon be joining the league?
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says despite advancements in that city’s quest to land a team, it won’t won’t happen anytime soon.
“We’re not in an expansion process,” Bettman said during a guest spot on Prime Time Sports Tuesday evening on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “We’re not about to go into an expansion process. They seem to be wanting to build a building there. We’ll see. There is interest, I can confirm, but nothing beyond that.”
Oak View Group, led by former Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment president Tim Leiweke, recently announced it has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city of Seattle proposing a rapid construction timeline of a revamped KeyArena. The timeline would ensure the facility would be equipped to host a professional sports franchise within three years.
Bettman says, from the NHL’s perspective, a building is a major step towards expansion.
“You need to believe that a building is going to come out of the ground,” he told hosts Bob McCown and Damien Cox. “And if not, bad things will happen. This is really jumping ahead because we would have to be in a place where we say ‘OK we want to commit to a franchise in Seattle. Here’s what has to happen, here are the terms of engagement.’
“We’re nowhere near that.”
Listen to the full interview in the audio player below.