UPDATE (11:35 a.m. ET): The NHL confirmed Tuesday that it had received two applications for expansion franchises, one from Bill Foley for a Las Vegas team and another from Quebecor for a Quebec City club, after 16 groups initially showed interest.
“Our purpose, in initiating the expansion process in the manner we did, was not only to explore the possibility of admitting new members to the NHL but also, at the outset, to set realistic guideposts to distinguish between bona fide expressions of interest (i.e., those which have at least substantial ownership capabilities and an arena or the realistic possibility of an arena) from those indications of potential interest which were, at best, merely hopes or aspirations,” the NHL said in a statement. “Apparently, only Mr. Foley and Quebecor have the confidence in their ability to secure an arena and suitable ownership capability to move forward with this process.
“We now intend to focus exclusively on the two expansion applications that have been submitted in accordance with the previously announced process. The process we have outlined for qualified applicants includes at least two more stages of documentation submission. We will provide no further updates until there is something substantive to announce.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Could the Quebec Nordiques be returning soon?
Media giant Quebecor, which has expressed interest in bringing an NHL team back to Quebec City for a while, confirmed Monday it formally submitted a bid for an expansion franchise by the league’s deadline, which also was Monday. [tweet https://twitter.com/Quebecor/status/623180792982859785 align=”center”]
It makes the most sense to expand to cities where people love hockey, and there are few places where the game is more prominent than Quebec City. The city lost the Nordiques to Colorado after the 1994-95 season for, among other reasons, a weak Canadian dollar and rising player salaries. The NHL’s landscape is far different now, and among the biggest changes is the existence of a salary cap and improved revenue sharing.
A new building, which was a problem for the Nordiques in 1995, no longer is an issue. Videotron Arena, a state-of-the-art building next to the old Colisée, is scheduled to open in September and could host a Quebec NHL team.
The other expansion bid submitted Monday was from Bill Foley’s Black Knight Sports & Entertainment LLC. That franchise would be in Las Vegas, where Foley recently held a season ticket drive.[tweet https://twitter.com/ESPN_Burnside/status/623234627029745664 align=”center”]
There reportedly were no bids from Seattle or Toronto. [tweet https://twitter.com/THNKenCampbell/status/623256999715827712 align=”center”]
The last time the NHL expanded was in 2000, when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild brought the league’s number of teams to 30.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@jtbourne