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Bettman says no moves or expansion on the horizon


NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the League has no intention to move any franchises or add any via expansion anytime soon.

Speaking on his weekly “NHL Hour” radio show, Bettman said Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly met recently with a group that’s seeking a second franchise in Southern Ontario, but denied any plans to put a team there.

“Bill happened to be in Toronto on other business, and some people asked if he would sit down and talk to them and hear what they had to say,” Bettman said. “We listen to a lot of people. But we couldn’t have been more consistent on the notion that we’re not planning on relocating. We’re not planning on expanding. Anyone who wants a franchise really is out of luck for the foreseeable future.

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Basically he is refering to 3 situations;  1)  Expansion club for Toronto.  2)  Islanders moving.  3) Phoenix moving.  I find it hard to believe that if someone is offering the league the 200 million needed for expansion fees (which I believe goes directly to the league without the players getting any of that revenue) that they would say no.  Listening to HNIC radion on Sirius yesterday the cost of bringing an expansion franchise to the Toronto market would be immense.  In addition to the costs of the expansion fee, you would have to develop a suitable arena and oh ya pay the Leafs for the rights to invade their market.  Not with this economy, I don’t care how many Blackberry’s James Laurence Balsille sells.

Looks like Charles Wang is using Mario Lemieux negotiating tactics 101 to get a new arena on the Island and even Bettman seems to be playing into it.

Let him get the approvals he needs so that he can get the job done. He will get it done, but it’s time for the governmental authorities to stop being an impediment to what must happen inevitably — because if anybody thinks that in the absence of the new arena, this team is going to stay in the Nassau Coliseum, they must be nuts.

And he didn’t appear to address the dire situation in Phoenix but clearly that has to be priority #1 for the NHL.