Las Vegas NHL expansion team is ‘done deal’: Report

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2015, file photo, Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League addresses the crowd as Bill Foley, chairman, Fidelity National Financial, Inc., Black Knight and FIS wipes his forehead during the "Let's Bring Hockey to Las Vegas!" press conference at the MGM Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas. A person with direct knowledge of the NHL's decision says the league has settled on Las Vegas as its choice for expansion, provided organizers can come up with a $500 million fee. The person spoke Tuesday, June 14, 2016, on condition of anonymity because details have not been released by the league ahead of its Board of Governors meeting on June 22. (AP Photo/The Sun, L.E. Baskow, File )

AP Source: NHL settles on Las Vegas for expansion

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2015, file photo, Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League addresses the crowd as Bill Foley, chairman, Fidelity National Financial, Inc., Black Knight and FIS wipes his forehead during the "Let's Bring Hockey to Las Vegas!" press conference at the MGM Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas. A person with direct knowledge of the NHL's decision says the league has settled on Las Vegas as its choice for expansion, provided organizers can come up with a $500 million fee. The person spoke Tuesday, June 14, 2016, on condition of anonymity because details have not been released by the league ahead of its Board of Governors meeting on June 22. (AP Photo/The Sun, L.E. Baskow, File )

The worst-kept secret in hockey is becoming less secret by the minute: The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the NHL will expand to Las Vegas and leave Quebec City on the back burner.

A person with direct knowledge of the NHL's decision says the league has settled on Las Vegas as its choice for expansion, provided organizers can come up with a $500 million fee.

The person spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because details have not been released by the league ahead of its Board of Governors meeting on June 22. Quebec City was also considered for expansion. A second person who had been briefed on the decision said Las Vegas was a "done deal" following the recommendation of the NHL's executive committee.

The 2017-18 season would be the earliest the league would expand.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that "the NHL’s Executive Committee voted unanimously to recommend expansion to Las Vegas." He also reports the team is expacted to be the Las Vegas Black Knights.

The NHL told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday that it has no comment on the report. 

The Sin Bin, a Vegas hockey blog that has some insider sources on the bid, reported last week that the executive committee had recommended expansion.

The fact that the NHL had released expansion draft information to its teams was also seemingly a harbinger that this was going to happen.

Greg Beacham’s AP report curiously hedges on whether the Las Vegas Black Knights will begin play in 2017-18, but that’s also been widely expected as part of the announcement.

The official announcement should come next week before the NHL Awards in Las Vegas after the recommendation is presented to the NHL Board of Governors.

NHL expansion to Las Vegas has its champions and its detractors – including some that would rather see relocation rather than expansion – and that’s understandable. But for hockey to be the first sport in that arena, and in that market, could mean laying down roots in a very lucrative place.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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