The NHL’s deadline to apply for an expansion franchise has passed, with only two ownership groups submitting appliciations.
The league announced Tuesday that only ownership groups from Las Vegas and Quebec City met the deadline to apply.
Quebecor, a Canadian media company, announced on Monday that it had submitted an application to revive the Quebec Nordiques. The other application was submitted by businessman Bill Foley, who launched a season ticket drive earlier this year to demonstrate interest in a Las Vegas franchise.
The league said it offered deadline extensions to 16 other potential owners but none of them entered an application.
“Apparently, only Mr. Foley and Quebecor have the confidence in their ability to secure an arena and suitable ownership capability to move forward with this process,” the league said in a statement.
After the NHL announced last month that it was opening the formal expansion process, Quebecor within 90 minutes with its intention to participate. The first phase of the process required a down payment of $10 million along with a formal application for a team.
Quebec City has been without an NHL team since the Nordiques moved to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. An NHL team in Las Vegas would be the city’s first major pro franchise.
Videotron Arena, a new stadium in Quebec City with a capacity of 18,259, is owned by Quebecor and would house the new team. The NHL is familiar with Quebecor through its television deal with TVA allowing the league to broadcast NHL games in French.
Construction on a new arena in Las Vegas is ongoing.
Seattle has also been considered a prime candidate for NHL expansion, but did not submit a bid. A second Toronto-area team and a Milwaukee-based franchise were considered less likely options. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league also received interest from Kansas City and Portland.
The expansion would not occur before the 2017-18 season, the NHL has said.
- Erin Flynn and Dan Gartland