MANALAPAN The Board of Governors agreed to consider an expansion application from Seattle, commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday.
The ability for the ceiling to rise by a minimum of $3 million is due to another increase in league revenues, which Bettman said is projected to hit around $4.85 billion this season, while hockey-related revenues are expected to reach $4.54 billion, an increase of 8.2 percent. He made the announcement after the first day of the Board of Governors meeting.
"It is a work in progress but we're very confident that we're going to get this to work", Commissioner Bettman said, "and the amount of data that it will provide in addition to creating opportunities for broadcasters to use it in real time is pretty exciting".
The process announced Thursday is similar to what the Las Vegas Golden Knights did ahead of being awarded an National Hockey League expansion team that began play this season.
Bettman said the group is only looking at Seattle for expansion, leaving Quebec City and Houston alone. That means a team likely wont be playing in Quebec Citys 18,259-seat Videotron Centre in the foreseeable future.
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"I don't think today's events have any impact on Quebec City", said deputy commissioner Bill Daly. We remember Seattle has more Stanley Cups and we plan to add to that.
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The league also has been eyeing Seattle as a solution to address the 16-to-15 team imbalance between its Eastern and Western conferences. "If I wanted to be positive, I'd say one of the things we kept harping on is that we need another team in the West before we consider expanding in the East".
"I said yesterday I thought we were on the path, I didn't know it would happen so quickly", Durkan laughed. But if you're concerned that Dundon might uproot the team - let's say, to the Lone Star State - think again, says the commissioner. "We want to work together".