By @StefanKubus –
It had been long discussed in the hockey world, and today the NHL made it official.
Following the league’s Board of Governor’s meeting Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that a Las Vegas franchise will mark the 31st NHL team, joining the league in 2017-18 via expansion.
It was a unanimous vote by the Board of Governors, as the NHL will become the first of the four major professional sports leagues to place a team in Las Vegas.
MORE ON VEGAS: What NHL expansion means for the Red Wings
“This expansion, our first since the 1997 expansion that rolled out four new teams over three seasons, follows months of extensive study, discussion, deliberation involving a fair number of constituent groups,” Bettman said.
“We think this is a tremendously exciting opportunity, not just for Las Vegas, but for the league, as well. This expansion comes at a time when our game is more competitive than ever, ownership is stronger than ever, the player base is more talented than ever and the business – and the future opportunities for the business – are greater than ever.”
The board also decided to defer the application for a new NHL team in Quebec. Bettman said that the decision to defer included the factor that the Canadian dollar is currently struggling; something felt by all current NHL cities already.
Bill Foley, new NHL owner as head of Foley/Maloof Sports & Entertainment, LLC ownership group, said the team does not have a name yet.
Foley will pay the league a $500 million expansion fee, with the sum being distributed equally among the current 30 NHL franchises.
Las Vegas will be the first team to join the league via expansion since the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets did so at the turn of the century for the 2000-01 season. The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft will mark the 12th such draft in league history.
Given what has been reported about expansion thus far, the expansion draft will allow Las Vegas to select one unprotected player from each of the other 30 NHL teams. Each team will be able to protect up to 11 players before the expansion draft – seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. Players with No-Movement Clauses are required to be protected unless the player waives his NMC. Players with the less-restrictive No-Trade Clauses are not required to be protected.
Each of the 30 teams will have to submit their protection lists by 5 p.m. ET on June 17, 2017. Las Vegas has to submit its selections for the expansion draft by 5 p.m. ET on June 20
The results of the expansion draft will then be publicized on June 21.