NHL expansion process opens to sort out dreamers from serious applicants

NHL expansion process opens to sort out dreamers from serious applicants

The NHL opened its expansion process on Monday, with interested parties able to submit bids to potentially become the league’s 31st and/or 32nd team. 

Some of the markets we know will be submitting bids: Las Vegas, Quebec City, Seattle (which may possibly send in two bids), and Southern Ontario — at least, that’s what representatives have said on the record. 

Not jumping into the expansion pool, as we discussed on Monday, is Kansas City, which has a shiny building, but no one willing to step up and help bring a team there at the moment.

To get started in the bid process, there is $1 million application fee, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli. Only some of that is refundable. What won’t be refundable is the expansion fee which will likely start at $500 million should you be awarded a franchise. (That sound you heard was Bill Foley opening his check book for Las Vegas.)

The league hears from interested parties all the time, but now that the process is here and open, it’s time for some markets and frontmen to put their money where their mouths are.

“With all the well-chronicled expressions of interest, let’s see what we get when you have to sign on the dotted line,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said last month. 

Along with the $1 million fee, parties must show the league their market can be a viable one and have concrete availability for an arena. Applications are due back to the NHL by August 10 and from there they will be vetted. There is no guarantee, however, that any bids could lead to a franchise. 

“Expansion is a very serious and important business decision. You don’t do it frivolously,” Bettman said. “No one is going to be persuaded by marching bands, nor would we seriously consider jottings on a napkin."

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!