Bill Daly adamantly shot down a report that the National Hockey League could be biding its time with expanding to Las Vegas and/or Quebec City because it is waiting for Seattle to get an arena in place.
“I can tell you with certainty that’s not the case. We’re not waiting for Seattle,” the NHL’s deputy commissioner told Hockey Central at Noon Wednesday. “Seattle doesn’t have an expansion application pending.”
Seattle City Council is, however, set to vote on a potential arena development project in January, the Seattle Times pointed out this week, and there has been talk of a $285-million overhaul of the KeyArena, former home of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder.
Daly said the league would consider expanding to Seattle in the future but not until they have an arena settled.
Bill Foley, who is heading up the Las Vegas expansion bid, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week that his group is proceeding as if they will dress a team in 2017.
The NHL’s Board of Governors will next meet Dec. 7 in Pebble Beach, Calif., but Daly said an expansion vote will not take place then.
The league is further along in its evaluation of Vegas and Quebec’s applications and will present its findings to the board in December to get a sense of which way the board members are leaning.
An expansion vote could possibly take place as early as the board’s January meeting at the All-Star Game in Nashville, but there is no guarantee and no set timeline for a decision. The league could still grow by two, one, or zero teams.
“However long it takes, it’s going to take,” said Daly. “It’s still wide open.”