Gary Bettman spoke on the matter of expansion during NHL all-star festivities Saturday night and the theme was go west young man.
“We have 14 teams in the Western Conference, 16 teams in the East. That’s an imbalance that we’ll want to remedy.”
He followed up with,
“I really have nothing new to report that I haven’t previously reported. Las Vegas is getting ready to launch the season ticket campaign,” said Bettman, “and we continue to get interest from others including Seattle. Their mayor visited and we had a nice chat.”
The NHL’s courtship of Las Vegas has been news all season and they are currently testing the waters of fan interest with a season ticket drive. Seattle has recently entered the conversation, as they seem intent on adding any sports teams they can. Seattle has been pushing for an NBA team and money is being allotted for a new stadium, money that if the NBA gets to town first, will not be there for a hockey team.
These comments came largely as a result from questions from the French-language media about the NHL’s return to Quebec City, which itself is currently constructing a new arena. Things don’t look good for Quebec City though, as it seems that Bettman is determined to add another warm weather market and to stay on the West coast. It is perplexing that the NHL seems to be spurning a Canadian city that already has a following and an arena under construction. If you are going to expand the NHL, wouldn’t it make the most sense to grow the game into a new market while also expanding in the fertile grounds of hockey mad Canada? Of course we are talking about Gary Bettman, so who knows what might happen when it comes to NHL expansion.