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NHL not considering further expansion at this time

Commissioner Gary Bettman discusses potential for teams in Seattle, Quebec City

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

Bettman on BOG Meeting

Gary Bettman on the Board of Governors Meeting

Commissioner Gary Bettman takes the podium at the NHL Awards to discuss the topics at the 2017 Board of Governors Meeting and fields questions

  • 14:18 •

LAS VEGAS -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday the NHL Board of Governors is not considering any further expansion at this point.

Commissioner Bettman was specifically asked about the potential for expansion to Seattle and Quebec City prior to the unveiling of the Vegas Golden Knights' selections at the 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).

"I think everybody has been focused in the last year on the process of integrating the Vegas Golden Knights into the League," Commissioner Bettman said. "We're not now considering expansion."

Commissioner Bettman did say he updated the Board of Governors on what is happening in regard to potential arena availability in Seattle.

The Oak View Group was selected to renovate Key Arena in Seattle two weeks ago. Tim Leiweke, the former CEO and president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, is CEO of Oak View Group.

"I advised the Board because there had been a lot of media attention to it as to what was going on with the awarding of the RFP (request for proposal) to the Oak View group, but nobody at this point expressed an interest moving forward in expansion at this time," Commissioner Bettman said. "I think there's still a little bit of ways to go before they put a shovel in the ground, so we're not prepared to right now embark on another wave of expansion."

Commissioner Bettman reaffirmed the League's optimism regarding the Arizona Coyotes eventually securing a new arena in the Greater Phoenix area. The Coyotes play in Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, but have been looking to move closer to downtown Phoenix or in the East Valley, where the majority of their fanbase is located.

Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway reportedly bought out the minority owners to become the sole owner of the team.

"What's happened is, ownership was in the process of being consolidated, which was a good thing because sometimes ownership groups don't always perform as efficiently as a consolidated ownership group," Commissioner Bettman said. "In fact, there have been ongoing meetings and we believe that ultimately this franchise will get stronger and get a new arena in Greater Phoenix."

Video: Gary Bettman on topics discussed at BOG meeting

Commissioner Bettman would not give a timetable for a new arena in Arizona.

"This isn't like a 60-minute game," he said. "We're not on the clock."

Commissioner Bettman also said the League's hockey related revenues (HRR) increased this season more than they did last season.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said HRR increased more than 6 percent, which Commissioner Bettman said has been the approximate average compounded rate of HRR growth the League has experienced in the past decade.

"Hockey related revenue has been increasing since the implementation of the system on a very robust and healthy rate relative to any business in any industry," Commissioner Bettman said.

Commissioner Bettman said the planning of future World Cup of Hockey tournaments or other models of international tournaments are on hold as the League awaits word on how the NHL Players' Association would like to proceed.

Commissioner Bettman said because the NHL and the NHLPA each has the ability to reopen collective bargaining negotiations in September 2020, it doesn't make sense to begin planning a World Cup or another international event that year unless each waives its right to the reopener.

The final for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey took place one day before the NHL announced the start of the 2004-05 lockout, which eventually led to the cancellation of the entire season.

"Having the planning and execution of the World Cup while you're in collectively bargaining and what might come afterwards if you're not successful in collective bargaining didn't work very well in 2004," Commissioner Bettman said. "We've told the Players' Association we want to do another World Cup. Either we shouldn't do it [in 2020] or we should both go to our constituents and see about waiving the reopener. We've not gotten any feedback yet on which approach they'd like.

"We certainly would hope that we could collectively make decisions a lot quicker in this regard than apparently we've been able to. We'd like to go. We'd like to do it. We'd like to plan it."

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