The 2016 NHL Awards show will once again be in Las Vegas, and while there is an expectation of an expansion announcement around that time, if the league decides to welcome a 31st team we may learn that news before that night in June sources tell the Las Vegas Review Journal.
If and when the NHL decides to welcome Las Vegas to the fold, Bill Foley wants to hit the ground running, which means a team name could be decided on quickly.
Originally, Foley, the man behind Vegas’ NHL bid, announced that should he be awarded a franchise a naming contest would be held for season-ticket holders. But if expansion comes this summer with an expected start date being the 2016-17 season, he wants to start cashing in immediately.
Talking with Brian Blessing on KHSP 1400 AM Friday afternoon, Foley said the timing on an official announcement coupled with the lack of potential website domain names would make him re-think the idea of a ticket-holder vote.
BLESSING: How quick would you envision that you'd have the team name. Are we talking days? When that day comes are you talking days?
FOLEY: I think I'm gonna have to kind of maybe not be quite so community open-minded and have this contest and probably come up with a name and talk to some people. Because, as I said, the domain names that we were interested in, they're gone. Someone's already got them.
BLESSING: OK, that's not you going back on what your plan was; it's adjusting in mid-stream. I wouldn't think people would go Aw, he said he was going to have a naming contest. It's about getting this thing and taking the ground running.
FOLEY: Let's have 100,000 jerseys in Las Vegas ASAP. That's what I think.
Due to his ties to West Point, Foley has been partial to “Black Knights” since we first met him during a Hockey Night in Canada segment in Dec. 2014. Whatever the team name ends up being, the colors will definitely be black, gold and gray, the very same ones worn by the United States Military Academy.
Foley added that even with a few dropouts, the season-ticket deposit total is at 14,000 sold. He also mentioned while he has yet to speak to any general manager candidates, ideally he'd like to hire one by July should he get a team.
While he waits to learn his NHL fate, Foley has also worked out a $17 million deal to build a 105,000-square foot practice facility featuring two NHL-size sheets. “It’s your risk money,” said the NHL when Foley told them about the practice facility deal. The deal, however, will only go through should Vegas get a team.
For Foley and Las Vegas' NHL prospects, as Jerry Seinfeld once said to Babu Bhatt, the wheels are in motion and it looks like it's only a matter of time before a team arrives.
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