PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The NHL provided an update to its Board of Governors on the expansion process in a 15-20 minute presentation at Pebble Beach on Monday. Commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated that there was no timetable to the process and that there was still nothing to vote on.
“The Board will need to vote at such a point in time that we decide there’s something to put to the Board to vote on, which really will be after the executive committee begins and finishes its deliberations and is prepared to make a recommendation,” Bettman said. “We’ve had this discussion now over the last couple of Board meetings – we’re not on a timetable. When I was asked when we might expand I said the ‘earliest’ would be before the (2017-18) season. Maybe if we’re going to expand. Doesn’t mean we are, but maybe if we are we’ll make the (2017-18) season, or maybe we won’t. We’ll see.”
Earlier in the day, the league’s executive committee met for three hours on expansion.
This continued the slowed down expansion pace the league announced at its Board of Governors meetings in September where Bettman also said there was no timetable. Bettman again shot down any sort of theory on the league slowing its pace in order to wait for a potential Seattle bid.
“I know I’ve seen the articles speculating that things have slowed down to wait for somebody else or somewhere else to apply – those stories are categorically untrue,” Bettman said. “We’re going to go through this process, complete this process one way or the other, and that’s where we’ll be. If we decide at another point in time to reopen expansion, I’m not saying we would, that’s a subsequent decision. This process is this process for these two applicants period. “
Bettman again reiterated that this this wasn’t a light decision for the league, which hasn’t had a new franchise start play since the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild in 2000-01.
“It’s an important, significant business decision and it’s being treated in a business-like way,” Bettman said.
There are also several other factors that need to be agreed upon before the NHL can expand.
“What would be the terms of the expansion draft? What would be the terms of an expansion draft if it’s one team or two teams? What will be the role or the position of the entry draft? And within that there are a lot of sub issues that have to be addressed in terms of not only what were the terms, draft, salary cap,” Bettman said.
Bettman didn’t outline any definitive steps moving forward nor when they could happen.
"Having now seen the information that’s been gathered, having been 99 per cent satisfied with what we’ve identified and what we’ve reported, then the committee will have to begin substantive discussions," Bettman said. "Will that be in the foreseeable future? Yes. Will it be in the next couple of weeks or couple of months? Maybe. We’ll see. We haven’t set a date for the next meetings."
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