NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Says League Not in Expansion Mode

The National Hockey League won’t grow beyond 30 teams and has no plans to add or move franchises any time soon, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

“We’re not in an expansion mode,” Bettman said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York.

Bettman said a report that a plan for the league to expand to Las Vegas was a “done deal” was inaccurate. He also said subsequent reports about potential expansion to Seattle, Quebec City and the addition of a second team in Toronto also were incorrect.

The story “came out of nowhere,” Bettman said. “Nothing has changed on that front. We’re not expanding. We’re not relocating. We like where we have all 30 of our franchises.”

The NHL last expanded for the 2000-01 season when it added franchises in Columbus, Ohio; and Minnesota to bring its total to 30 teams.

Bettman took further issue that the report said the league would add four new franchises for a total of $1.4 billion -- or $350 million each.

“That’s too low,” he said. “If we were to do it at all.”

If the NHL were to add a second team in Toronto, Bettman said the Maple Leafs -- the NHL’s most valuable franchise at $1.15 billion, according to Forbes magazine -- wouldn’t be able to block it and would have “no right” to be financially compensated unless the league’s board of governors voted to do it.

“Decisions as to where franchises are located are up to the board of governors as a whole, not up to any one team team,” he said. “And there’s no veto.”

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