Probably the number one holdup in the expansion process, so we think, is the concern the league has over a few of its struggling franchises.
So, the Panthers reached out to the county and asked for some financial help to renovate the arena, and in turn, guarantee the Panthers stayed put.
The vote was held Tuesday afternoon.
The commission voted 5-3 to grant the Panthers’ request for an $86 million financial grant that will keep the team in South Florida — and in the county-owned BB&T Center — for the foreseeable future. – George Richard, Miami Herald
This is a massive piece to the NHL expansion puzzle. With Arizona’s situation appearing to be somewhat stable, the league is just left with Carolina as the only remaining problem child. Hurricanes owner, Peter Karmanos, Jr. is on the Board of Governors executive committee, so any necessary information about his club should not be left unknown in any board meetings.
Assuming the league is comfortable with Carolina staying put, they should be able to more confidently, and hopefully quickly, green-light expansion to Las Vegas.
If they are still concerned about the status of the Canes, it would obviously make most sense to move them to Quebec City (keeping them in the Eastern Conference), which frees up the league to add one expansion team now and possibly another (cough, Seattle) later.
Obviously we aren’t quite ready to pop the cork on the champagne and begin the celebration, but things could have gotten really sticky if the Broward County deal fell through. Lucky for us, it didn’t, and now the road to hockey in Las Vegas got a little bit clearer.