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NHL Says Enlargement Not a ‘Precedence Proper Now’ Amid Atlanta, Houston Buzz

Erin WalshMarch 8, 2023Minas Panagiotakis/Getty ImagesWhile there have been rumors spurred by ESPN’s John Buccigross and Kevin Weekes about a possible NHL expansion in Houston and Atlanta, the league confirmed Wednesday to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff that expanding to 34 teams is currently not being considered.”Expansion isn’t our priority right now,” NHL Deputy Commissioner

NHL Says Enlargement Not a ‘Precedence Proper Now’ Amid Atlanta, Houston Buzz

Erin WalshMarch 8, 2023

MONTREAL, CANADA - JANUARY 19:  A puck sits on the ice with the NHL crest during warm-ups prior to the game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Florida Panthers at Centre Bell on January 19, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-2.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Photos

Whereas there have been rumors spurred by ESPN’s John Buccigross and Kevin Weekes a few doable NHL enlargement in Houston and Atlanta, the league confirmed Wednesday to Frank Seravalli of Every day Faceoff that increasing to 34 groups is at the moment not being thought-about.

“Enlargement is not our precedence proper now,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Invoice Daly wrote in an electronic mail to Every day Faceoff. “But it surely doesn’t suggest we can’t take heed to folks or teams who’ve curiosity. That occurs to incorporate each Atlanta and Houston. But it surely additionally contains different cities as properly.”

Seravalli famous that the NHL “often receives expressions of curiosity from potential possession teams and cities” and that the league entertains these inquiries with “various ranges of intrigue and seriousness.”

The NHL expanded to Las Vegas in 2017 with the Golden Knights enjoying at T-Cell Enviornment, and the Seattle Kraken, the league’s thirty second franchise, made their debut at Local weather Pledge Enviornment in 2021.

The Golden Knights needed to pay an enlargement charge value $500 million, and the Kraken paid a charge of $650 million. Seravalli wrote that “a hypothetical subsequent NHL enlargement charge may push as a lot as $1 billion in a pair years.”

Along with Houston and Atlanta, a variety of different cities have been linked as potential enlargement places, together with Quebec Metropolis, Kansas Metropolis, Portland and Saskatoon. Daly mentioned that Houston and Atlanta have not jumped to the highest of the league’s record for enlargement.

“I do not assume Atlanta and Houston are in any higher or any worse place than anybody else who has expressed curiosity within the final 12-18 months,” Daly wrote to Every day Faceoff.

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Houston has by no means had an NHL franchise, although it did host the Houston Aeros of the Worldwide Hockey League (1994-2001) and American Hockey League (2001-2013).

It is unclear how profitable an NHL membership can be in Houston, which is a few four-hour drive south of Dallas, the place the Stars have performed since 1993.

Nevertheless, the Stars have turn out to be some of the intriguing groups within the NHL of late, so it is doable Houston may very well be a stable vacation spot.

As of December, the Stars ranked eighth within the league in attendance, averaging 18,362 followers per recreation at American Airways Heart, per The Athletic’s Ian Mendes and Hailey Salvian. That is greater than groups just like the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins.

As for Atlanta, the NHL has twice positioned a workforce within the metropolis.

The Flames performed in Atlanta from 1972 to 1980 earlier than relocating to Calgary forward of the 1980-81 season. The Atlanta Thrashers had been based in 1999 and spent 12 seasons within the metropolis till they had been bought and moved to Winnipeg, the place they’re now generally known as the Jets.

Contemplating two groups have discovered minimal success in Atlanta, it is exhausting to think about the NHL wanting to offer it a go for a 3rd time, particularly with followers in Canada clamoring for one more franchise.

Nonetheless, it looks like something is on the desk, although at this level it looks like additional enlargement won’t be thought-about for some time.

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