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Expansion Coming


Digityman
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If player agent Allan Walsh added a few ambers to the growing expansion fire, former NHLPA head Paul Kelly and the city of Markham, Ontario, have added a few gallons of gasoline on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

The city has been in the planning phase of building a new NHL-ready arena in the suburb of Toronto. The city council held a meeting Tuesday to decide if the plans should move forward. Council members voted at almost 3 a.m., and the vote was 7-6 against stopping the planning, which would include the city borrowing $325 million to build an arena. It doesn't mean the arena will definitely happen now; it just means the process isn't done and the dream lives on.

It's a pretty big gamble for the city to make, committing so much money for a new arena that has no guarantee of a permanent tenant. It would still have concerts and other such events coming in, but the intended prize is an NHL franchise.

That's where Kelly came in. Speaking in front of the council, he made a case for why they should feel secure in building an arena, because the NHL is about to get bigger.

From Elliotte Friedman of the CBC.

"I've discussed it with many owners, the commissioner and many players," Kelly said in a conversation after his presentation. "That's given me a strong sense that at some point there will be a second team [in the greater Toronto area].

Kelly added he believes expansion will take place in the next two or three years, "most likely" to Quebec City and Toronto.

"You're not going to wait until the back end of a CBA, when you will be under negotiation again...[Expansion] balances re-alignment; increases revenue streams. It adds $80-100 million US to the [Hockey Related Revenue] pie.

"Quebec City had a franchise before and it served the sport well," Kelly said. He also said the NHL considers the Quebec market "underserved."

It's usually the case that where there's smoke there's fire, and there has been a lot of smoke on this issue for months. There are a few markets that seem like possible NHL destinations (Seattle being another), and with the NHL's proposed realignment plan leaving uneven conferences, the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit.

Just don't get ahead of yourselves. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly again reiterated to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com the NHL's stance that expansion is not absolutely coming to the NHL again.

"There's never been a plan to expand to 32 teams," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com Wednesday morning. "Whether we talked conceptually at some point if things are going well whether we could expand to 32, I'm sure we suggested we could, but we certainly never reached the point where that was appropriate when Paul Kelly was executive director of the NHLPA and I'd say we haven't got there at this point.

"I'd say any sports league aspires to be in a position where expansion is a good idea," added Daly. "But again, it's got to be the right circumstances."

Things aren't adding up here. Either they don't speak the same languages, or somebody is lying. It's probably more the former than the latter -- and two people not being on the same page. However, it does make a lot of sense to expand to two more teams in markets that you know would be successful and add to the overall revenue streams of the league in a positive way.

Kelly's statements were strong and as close to definitive as we've seen, mostly because of the setting: a meeting of a city council weighing the proposal's risks with a city's financial future potentially on the line. Obviously an assurance that "if you build it, they will come" will help them go through with the arena because if they do get an NHL team, it will be a big moneymaker (even after compensating Toronto for moving in on their territory).

Because the vote to end the planning failed, the dream of an arena in Markham lives on, and with it, so does the dream of expansion.

CBS Sports

I don't get it. 8 teams are losing money every year and yet they want to expand? Why not relocated?

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exactly digi. the current owners are like crack addicts when it comes to expansion fees + placing teams in markets where its doomed to fail. just look at the panthers where its come dressed as your favorite stadium seat night every game. relocation is the answer not expansion

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Suburbs of Toronto?.. are the people there that fed up with the leafs? There faith being pushed off the edge.. but i gotta be honest, a Local Derby or "Battle of Toronto" would be too mouthwatering of a match i honestly think that would become one of the biggest rivalries in the entire NHL over time despite being new. Hatred would fuel over loyalty commitment and glory. Then comes the battle to be Toronto's top dog. Thats what the Neutrals want! LET IT BE!

but if it wont be in Toronto im hoping a franchise would be created in my home state of Lousiana despite me supporting the Red wings i would support the Lousiana team as a second team, sounds weird but home state pride takes you far.

Any other locations being rumored though for the near future?

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Any other locations being rumored though for the near future?

Seatle

Suburbs of Toronto?.. are the people there that fed up with the leafs? There faith being pushed off the edge.. but i gotta be honest, a Local Derby or "Battle of Toronto" would be too mouthwatering of a match i honestly think that would become one of the biggest rivalries in the entire NHL over time despite being new. Hatred would fuel over loyalty commitment and glory. Then comes the battle to be Toronto's top dog. Thats what the Neutrals want! LET IT BE!

ha ha, I think that it is more of monopolizing all of the possible income in the area. If the New York area can support 3 teams. Toronto can surely support two teams.

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  • 6 months later...
The rumors about the NHL moving to Seattle are about to be reignited.

Mitch Levy, a sports-talk radio host in Seattle, shared a rumor saying NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is pushing the Board of Governors to make an expansion team available to Seattle. Levy says it would cost $275 million to start the team and that the new team would begin playing in the 2014-15 season.

With Seattle expansion rumors about one city comes speculation about who else would join them as an expansion partner.

If only a team was added to Seattle, that would leave the league with an odd number of teams (31) and for balance sake there’d have to be a second. Quebec City, Toronto, Portland, Kansas City, and Las Vegas make up the group of usual suspects there..

Seattle and Portland would balance out the divisions. Portland was also the city of choice mentioned by Bettman if Phoenix was to have relocated.

Add to this thought that there are a lot of Free Agents available next season, the timing makes a lot of sense.

Any one know how many players / per team would have to be made available for the expansion of two teams?

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Notice that not once does Kelly use the word expansion. Friedman replaced whatever Kelly actually said with an interpretation - [expansion]. Friedman is usually a pretty bang on journalist, but I'd like to know what Kelly's actual words were.

Seems like the CBS author might be editorializing a bit too much. You can still have four new teams without expanding... Portland, Seattle, Quebec, and Markham to replace Florida, Nashville, Phoenix, and the Jackets or Isles or Devs or Canes or take your pick of southern US teams.

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Well, then I guess I spoke too soon. But there's still no use of the word 'expansion' by an NHL official, so until that happens, I'll remain skeptical.

As others have said, relocation makes much more sense... but we are talking about the NHL. So, expansion it is!

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@brelic

Actually Daly does but it also mentions relocation.

A quote from Daly:

“Going forward, I would expect that, to the extent expansion comes into the picture or relocation is needed, I’m sure the Pacific Northwest is going to get serious consideration.”

http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2013/07/24/daly-pacific-northwest-will-get-serious-consideration-for-expansion-or-relocation/

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ha ha, I think that it is more of monopolizing all of the possible income in the area. If the New York area can support 3 teams. Toronto can surely support two teams.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/highway_to_hell_pPt0IWAMz0tZtGm3w7TEdK

Devils again sliding into financial mess

I'm not totally sanguine about the Islanders, either... The new building can only seat 15,000.

http://slapshot.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/islanders-brooklyn-move-raises-complex-issues/

Q. Why would the Islanders move from the Coliseum, where they are tenants, to Barclays, where they will still be tenants?

A. The short answer: $35 million in extra revenue per year. That goes a long way toward wiping out the club’s current operating deficit, estimated at $8 million per year.

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This quote from the Devil's financial mess article "As a sizable creditor to the Devils, the NHL must now approve any major financial moves the team makes. “I’m amazed at how far the NHL has gone out on a financial limb,” a second source close to the situation said."

I'm not shocked at all, at a time when the NHL is seriously considering expansion, it would be an embarassment to the NHL, and specifally Buttman's reign to have a long standing team like the Devil's go bankrupt. Can't smudge Gary's tenure can we? Just like the Yotes, Gary will do whatever it takes to avoid the bad press that a bankruptcy would most assuredly bring. It's all public perception at this point. I say if the team can't make a go of it, send them off to an area where they will be viable. Does anyone think this will end in the near future? This mess will get worse and worse, and Gary will have to dig deep to save them, and the leagues image.

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