Not since the epic failure of the XFL has Las Vegas even entertained the idea of being home to a professional sports franchise. Yet, Wednesday they were finally awarded the first real pro sports team in the city’s history.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Sin City will be home to the league’s newest franchise after the board of governors unanimously voted to expand the league to 31 teams. The new hockey team will play in the 2017-18 season. It’s the first time the league has expanded since the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild were added to the league 15 years ago.
“In the fall of 2017, when we celebrate the 100th birthday of the NHL, we will do so as a League of 31 teams,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We are pleased to welcome Bill Foley and the city of Las Vegas to the League and are truly excited that an NHL franchise will be the first major professional sports team in this vibrant, growing, global destination city.”
Of course this news isn’t too shocking considering the city just finished the brand new $375 million T-Mobile Arena which opened earlier this year. And as sports gambling becomes more accepted, the Oakland Raiders are now considering the move to Vegas as well.
The new hockey franchise will play in the Pacific Division and have the same draft lottery odds as the team finishing with the third-fewest points during the 2016-17 season. They are guaranteed to pick no lower than sixth in next year’s draft.
Now the biggest question is coming up with a team name that doesn’t involve aliens, gambling or taking off one’s clothes.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.
Photo: NHL Facebook