Connecticut Governor Says Prospective NHL Team Buyers Are Interested In Hartford
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy on Friday said that the state "had been in touch with groups interested in bringing the NHL" back to Hartford, according to Paul Doyle of the HARTFORD COURANT. Malloy: "There are a number of teams in the NHL that are expected to change hands and there's also the possibility of additional teams being authorized by the league. I have, in the last six months, been contacted by several groups who are interested in knowing that, should they acquire a team and win the rights to move that team, would we be interested in competing for that team? That is, with facilities ... and I have indicated time and time again that we would be interested, although probably not at our sole expense." Doyle wrote while the XL Center is set to undergo renovations, it "is not considered a long-term option if the state lands an NHL franchise." Malloy said, "No promises made, but I have encouraged at least two groups who have expressed interest in acquiring a team to do so and that we would be active participants should they acquire a team and win the rights to move the team" (HARTFORD COURANT, 12/14).
TWO BY TWO? NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that league expansion "doesn't necessarily have to be by two franchises." ESPN.com's Craig Custance wrote, "If one city meets the criteria the league is looking for, most notably a suitable arena and ownership group, it will get the team first." Custance: "To me, there's too much risk putting two more teams in Canada, considering how much the fluctuation of the Canadian dollar impacts NHL revenue." Plus, the "long-term success of the league depends on growth" in the U.S. Custance: "I'd anticipate one U.S. team and one Canadian ... I really believe Seattle will ultimately get a team" (ESPN.com, 12/13).
GEOGRAPHY LESSON: The Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE wrote, "There seems to be definite traction toward the NHL expanding by two franchises in the next few years." Seattle is "the biggest front-runner, with Quebec City or a second team in Toronto also a possibility." Additionally, there is a "well-organized group interested in putting an expansion team in Las Vegas," and a new arena built by AEG and MGM Resorts "should be completed" by '16. Unless a team from the East is "going to move back to the Western Conference, the West could actually be in line for two expansion teams" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/15). In Boston, Fluto Shinzawa wrote, "Part of the impetus behind a 32-team league is to correct the imbalance between the conferences." Seattle "would be the top landing spot in the West." Portland "could also sustain an NHL franchise," with the backing of Trail Blazers and Moda Center Owner Paul Allen (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/15).