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SOURCE SAYS BETTMAN MAY CONVINCE TURNER TO TAKE TEAM IN '96
Published May 23, 1995
Following reports that the NHL will award expansion franchises to Denver and Atlanta to begin play in the '96-97 season, Ted Turner has told the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION that "he doesn't want a team before the 1997-98 season and hopes the league won't announce anything this summer." Turner says he wants a new arena in place before a new team comes to Atlanta, and does not want to market a new team during the '96 Games. League sources told the TAMPA TRIBUNE that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "could make concessions to convince Turner to join the league in 1996-97." In Tampa, Tom Jones writes that "with new- found popularity, the NHL wants to capitalize on the momentum and expand as quickly as possible. Announcing two expansion teams -- 50 new jobs for players -- this summer would also help the bargaining agreement. And the board of governors will welcome expansion money." The TRIBUNE lists other scenarios for expansion: If Quebec moves to Denver, the NHL would expand to Atlanta and another city -- Portland, Phoenix or Seattle -- for '97-98; or, the NHL could award expansion franchises to Denver and another city for '96-97 and then expand to Atlanta "one or two years after that" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/23).