Expansion has been a big point of discussion over the past few years in the NHL. It now looks like these talks are starting to break through.
Per Howard Bloom of Sports Business News, the NHL plans to add four teams over the next three years. The cities expected to get teams are Quebec City, Toronto, Las Vegas, and Seattle.
NHL expansion – four teams added by 2017, Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, and Las Vegas $1.4b in expansion fees
— Howard Bloom (@SportsBizNews) August 27, 2014
Quebec City and Toronto would most certainly go in the Eastern Conference. Las Vegas and Seattle would likely be Western Conference teams.
Quebec City has been missing NHL hockey since 1995 when the team moved to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche. Quebec City was in the World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1972 through 1979. They then moved to the NHL and stayed from 1979 through 1995 before their relocation.
Toronto may be on the verge of getting its second NHL team. As if the Maple Leafs weren’t enough, Toronto may have another NHL team to cheer for by 2017.
Seattle is a city that has deserved a NHL team for quite a while, and they may finally get one. The sports-crazy fans in the Northwest may be the best place for an expansion team. Seattle’s estimate population of 652,405 in 2013 ranked first in the Pacific Northwest.
It is also noteworthy that the Seattle Seahawks are the reigning Super Bowl Champions in the NFL.
The most curious team on the list of expansion teams is Las Vegas, Nevada. The nearby Arizona Coyotes have been the least stable team in the NHL over the past few seasons. Adding another desert team may backfire on the National Hockey League.
The move would likely cost the NHL $1.4 billion per reports.
The addition of new expansion teams would likely include some realignment. Currently, there are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and just 14 in the western Conference.
The fact that conferences aren’t properly split makes it obvious that the plan all along was to add teams. Hopefully both conferences will have an equal number of teams at the end of the expansion process, if there is one.
NHL expansion will be a very popular topic in the NHL over the coming weeks. As expansion talks heat up, things will continue to get more and more interesting.