The NHL’s executive committee met for more than four hours yesterday, with one big order of business on the table: expansion. Their decision on whether to award franchises to Las Vegas or Quebec City, or both, or neither, is functionally the final decision; the full Board of Governors is expected to approve the executive committee’s recommendation, whatever it is. So, right at this moment, some powerful hockey people know whether we’ll be getting new teams for the 2017-18 season—and they won’t spill the beans.
The nine-members committee, chaired by the Bruins’ Jeremy Jacobs, consists of owners from the Maple Leafs, Flames, Capitals, Blackhawks, Hurricanes, Wild, Lightning, and Ducks. The NHL has said they had three options on the table:
- No expansion
- Defer a decision to 2018
- Expansion for 2017-18, with either one or two new teams
Quebec City seems like it’s not going to happen—the head of the bid, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, has hinted that the weak Canadian dollar might force the bid to wait.
So that leaves Vegas, which seems to have the support and whose fancy new arena (above) opened last month. But even Bill Foley, the billionaire behind the bid, said “nobody has said anything to me” about the outcome of yesterday’s meeting. The NHL isn’t commenting, and has said it will not publicly comment until after the full Board of Governors gets to rubber-stamp the executive committee’s decision at their meeting on June 22nd—in Las Vegas.
(It should be noted that a Vegas franchise fan site, The Sin Bin, is reporting that the executive committee recommended expansion. I’m not saying that didn’t happen, but I’m not sure how much inside info this site has. After all, in April, they reported Vegas expansion was confirmed and would be announced in early May. When that didn’t happen, they waited a week and reported that expansion had been reconfirmed.)
This is all frustrating as hell...you NHL guys already know what’s going to happen. Tell it! Jeff Vinik, if you’re reading this, just leak it to me and I’ll claim Leonsis did it.