NHL Expansion Might Not Stop With Seattle, North America
No major North American pro sports league has "stretched past" 32 teams, but "no one is ruling it out for the NHL to get there on this continent or beyond," according to Stephen Whyno of the AP. Seattle has "seemed a no-brainer from the beginning and no one expects anything by approval" from the NHL BOG as early as Monday. As soon as the Golden Knights became the league's 31st team, "getting to 32 was inevitable." But as balanced as it "might seem, it's not the end." Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly said, "Not sure there is any magic about 32. Expansion is appropriate when a convincing case can be made that it will be beneficial and add value to the league as a whole." Whyno notes Houston, Quebec City and Toronto have all been "touted as possible new homes for an NHL team." Communications company Quebecor "applied for an expansion team for Quebec City at the same time as Las Vegas," and Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta has "already met" NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. NHLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said, "Houston's a big city. It's got a long history with professional sports in North America. You would like to think that sooner or later the NHL will have a team there." Whyno notes any thought of a 40-team NHL would "almost certainly involve European expansion," where the NHL would "likely need to put a full division in Europe to make any sense" (AP, 11/30).