Speaking with Gord Stellick and Rob Simpson on SiriusXM’s NHL Network Radio, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly shed some light on where the league is currently on the expansion process.
We had a good meeting with out executive committee last week in New York. We continue the review and evaluation process. Nothing will be present for votes at this point, we are still a ways away from that. But it’s moving along. -Bill Daly
In other words. Nothing has changed, stop asking me. However, Daly had a bit of trouble answering when asked directly about Las Vegas.
The perception is that if the league had it’s first choice that it would be Las Vegas. Is that accurate? -Rob Simpson
No… I mean… well… you know look. You are getting into kind of where we are in the process. What I, what I, you know, I, I think there are lots of merits to both applications in front of us. -Bill Daly
Now this is interesting. The first word out of his mouth was no. Daly wanted to deflect the question, but then he quickly realized no was not the right answer. So he stuttered his way to the company line answer about “the process.”
Why would he say no, then change his mind? Maybe because no actually should have been yes. Daly knew he could not say yes because that would completely alienate Quebec City, something they aren’t willing to do…yet. But, it’s so obvious that after saying no, his mind instantly told him, wait, hang on, that’s not right.
It’s possible I’m trying to read too much into it, just like we’ve been doing with everything, but to me when someone is asked about Vegas being the front runner, and the answer was “no, wait, I mean…” that means it’s much closer to yes than no.
Daly did go on to say this though.
People thought expansion was a preordained conclusion, it’s never been. It’s always been a process and we’re making a decision that’s important for the long term future of the league.
That’s really the only way Las Vegas doesn’t get a team at this point. If the league doesn’t expand, it’s clearly a disaster for Vegas. But we all know how money hungry this league can be, and they have never gotten this far into the process without it ending in expansion.
Seems unlikely but the league continues to put the seed of doubt out there just in case they change their mind. Which, I’ll be honest, scares the hell out of me.
Can we stop kidding ourselves? This is over. It’s done. Everything is in place, and we can all relax. The NHL will announce their expansion to Las Vegas soon. How soon is anyone’s guess, but let me be the first to confirm it will happen on April 5th, 2016. Ken and Dana both we close to why in their most recent posts, but let me go into detail as to why this is all but certain to take place.
As we speak, the silence with the NHL is deafening. If you look back to the lockout, you could find numerous leaks from both the player’s union and the league to the press, so why not now? You aren’t hearing a peep now because it’s a done deal, and Foley knows it. Why would he jeopardize his new partners by going public with anything concrete? His silence since a December interview with the Review-Journal is exhibit A. Right now, it’s of my opinion that the league and the PA are quietly trying to hammer out some of the labor-related issues (no-movement clauses for one), but the biggest piece as to why this is so certain is the next point to discuss: HRR.
Hockey Related Revenue is what the salary cap is based on in the NHL. While it will not include any expansion fees, it does consist of pre, regular, and post season games (including the pre-season exhibitions that will take place at the T-Mobile Arena this September), local television (cable and over-the-air) and radio broadcasts, team internet revenue, league internet revenue, boxes, seats, clubs, signage, etc. Every single piece of stuff you’ll see and hear regarding the team following April 5th, 2016 will be included in the HRR of the league for the 2017-18 season. As the Canadian dollar plays peek-a-boo with the international press, this influx of monies the Vegas franchise creates will help to off-set that. Every bean counter, league official, and owner knows this.
So while we wait for Foley to end his silence, and for everyone inside this “secret” to work their calculators on how this franchise will prop up the league, you might be asking why April 5th, 2016: that my friends is the real kicker of this entire mystery, and why it’s so easy to see. We can understand that this weekend’s all-star game in Nashville wasn’t the right time or place to announce a new team, because the spotlight should be given to the Nashville area. We can also understand that the league would not want to wait all the way until June at the NHL Awards to make their decision because that leaves a patient and professional Bill Foley in a hole to get everything up and running with his front office. It was right in front of us the whole time that the biggest way to make a splash, and a local party would be April 5th, 2016 because that is the day the city of Las Vegas and MGM is set to christen their new jewel, T-Mobile Arena, to the world.
So there you have it. Come April, we will know that at least Las Vegas will join the NHL. We also know that with the announcement of those exhibition games in September that the stores inside T-Mobile Arena will be then-filled to the rafters with new, shiny gear all ready for the public to consume as they enjoy the then-hated Kings and whoever else is on the ice. You heard it here first. Now spread the word.