Gary Bettman Claims NHL Has No Interest Right Now In Expansion

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Panthers Move On After Sound Defeat Of Lightning
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky deflects a shot during the first period of Game 5 of the first-round of an NHL Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Monday, April 29, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

But Bettman and league owners will know if Phoenix is a viable expansion city on June 27th.

Well, that’s that, the National Hockey League is not expanding beyond 32 teams in the foreseeable future unless, of course, Alex Meruelo wins a land auction bid in Phoenix on June 27th and begins the process of building an arena-village. Phoenix will get an expansion team within five years if Meruelo is able to get the project done. There are other areas that want a team. In the Atlanta market, there seems to be two groups that want an NHL team. There is the possibility that the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta wants a franchise. Québec City has an arena that could be used for an NHL team but the market is small and Québec City has limited corporate and television money and would have to deal with a substantial difference as it is a Canadian market that has to operate with American dollars. It costs Canadians about $1.38 to buy one American dollar. The Canadian dollar is hovering around 73 cents against the American greenback. There have been reports that investors in Cincinnati and Omaha, Nebraska are also looking closely at trying to land an NHL franchise. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman likes the attention his league is getting from suitors.

“We continue to deal with expressions of interest. We’re not going to, at least at this point, unveil a formal process. We are gratified by the fact that at least half a dozen places continue to have interest in us.” The National Hockey League will have a new market starting in the fall in Salt Lake City replacing Phoenix. All is good for now according to Bettman but there could be an arena problem in that the Salt Lake City building has a good number of bad seats for hockey with obstructed views. The Utah owner Ryan Smith has an arena issue to solve.

Gary Bettman

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