Las Vegas and Quebec City are moving closer in their bids to land a NHL franchise.
A Bill Foley-led group and Montreal-based communications giant Quebecor are in the third and final stage of a process to potentially bring the world’s top hockey league to Las Vegas and Quebec City, respectively.
“They have been invited to make presentations to the Executive Committee on Tuesday,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email.
Later in the day, the committee will report to the NHL Board of Governors.
“Evaluation process will continue,” Daly wrote. “No defined timeline.”
Quebecor spokesman Martin Tremblay and Michelle Kersch, spokeswoman for Foley’s group, confirmed their groups will make a presentation.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this month the league is “not feeling any timeline pressure,” in the expansion process. Bettman has proposed an expansion fee of $500 million, a significant jump from the $80 million fee paid by the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild, when the NHL last expanded to 30 teams in 2000.
It is expected to take at least two years before the NHL would potentially have 32 teams playing.
The league has examined each market and both groups’ arena plans after they were the chosen two out of 16 expansion applicants. As part of the process, both groups submitted a $10 million down payment, $2 million of which was nonrefundable. An NHL franchise in Las Vegas would be the first for any of the major sports leagues in the city.
In the meantime, Quebec City is unveiling its gleaming Videotron Centre, a state of the art 18,259-seat arena that was built to house an NHL team. On Monday night, the arena will host a preseason game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens, who used to be the provincial rival of Quebec’s former NHL franchise, the Nordiques.
John Wawrow and Greg Beacham contributed to this report.
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