Quebec City’s bid for expansion was shot down by the NHL, and it could be a while before Quebec City — or any city, for that matter — gets another chance at landing an expansion franchise.
Much of the talk during the 2016-17 campaign will be about the upcoming expansion draft and the creation of a roster for the Las Vegas expansion franchise. As the excitement for that grows, though, so too will the desire for NHL-ready locales (hello, Quebec City!) to have teams of their own.
However, if a new team is going to pop up, maybe we shouldn’t expect it to be by way of expansion, especially after Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said he doesn’t see any need for the league to add a 32nd team in the near future.
“I really don’t [see additional expansion talk],” Jacobs said, according to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty. “I believe we’re looking for balance now. We have 16 teams in the East and 15 teams in the West. There isn’t as much compelling reason as there was. I think this league is looking for more stability.”
Jacobs added that it would be best for the NHL to ensure the 30 — and soon to be 31 — teams that the league boasts are stable and viable into the future, and the balance of competition could allow for any team to turn into a near overnight success.
It shouldn’t be surprising to hear an NHL owner tempering expectations about further expansion so soon after the Las Vegas franchise was awarded, though, and that goes double for Jacobs, who had publicly said he wasn’t sure the league cared to expand at all before a team was awarded to Las Vegas.
“I don’t know if there’s a desire or will within the board of the existing franchises for expansion yet,” Jacobs told ESPN’s Joe McDonald in October 2015 as the league looked at bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City. “They both made pretty interesting proposals. Both have very legitimate arenas in place and organizations in place. There’s a capacity out there, but I don’t know if there’s a will from a league standpoint.”
While Jacobs isn’t the only owner with a say when it comes to expansion, he is one who possesses an incredible amount of pull. Jacobs not only functions as a member of the board of governors, but he is the chairman of the executive committee, a group that also features Ducks owner Henry Samueli, Flames co-owner Murray Edwards, Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, Wild owner Craig Leipold, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. That group can help lead the way when it comes to expansion
Jacobs has owned the Bruins since 1975, shortly after the league’s first expansion, and has been on board as the league added a number of teams. In fact, since Jacobs took over, the league has added more than a dozen teams, including the four absorbed WHA franchises (Winnipeg, Edmonton, Hartford and Quebec), additional West Coast expansion (San Jose, Anaheim), Sunbelt expansion (Florida, Tampa Bay) and the most recent round of expansion that added teams in Nashville, Columbus and Atlanta.
In October 2015, Jacobs mentioned the Greater Toronto Area, Seattle and Houston as locations they believed were potential expansion cities, but the only bids — which required a $10-million application fee with $2 million non-refundable — came from Las Vegas and Quebec. Further expansion talk has been quiet since the Quebec City bid was shot down.
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