National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman is betting on Las Vegas as the next location for a new hockey team, edging out Quebec and Seattle, as reported by Toronto Sun. At the State of the Union address for hockey, Bettman said he would start a season ticket drive in Sin City to see if there is sufficient interest. Bettman prefers Las Vegas to make a more balanced collection of teams in the West and the East. If the season ticket drive goes well, a hockey team in Las Vegas could get a green light.
“We’re listening to expressions of interest, ” Bettman said, “Frankly, we don’t know, with the unique nature of Las Vegas, whether or not it makes sense, but, as important, the person Bill Foley, who wants to own a team and wants to continue to pursue and express his interest, wants to figure out if it’s worth doing. Not that he’s necessarily guaranteed a team, cause he’s not, but if it turns out that the ticket drive is unsuccessful, he’ll focus on other things.”
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Even though there is no guarantee, a hockey rink is already under construction with the price tag of $350 million. “We haven’t put up deadlines and hard numbers, ” Bettman said. “Bill Foley asked us for permission to do it so he–and we—could get a sense whether a market so many people think is unique would support, at the grassroots level, a franchise.”