Daniel Negreanu (Photo by Neil Stoddart)
Daniel Negreanu has conquered the poker world and the NHL could be next. After acting as one of the faces of the Las Vegas expansion bid, Negreanu could come aboard as a minority owner should ‘Sin City’ get awarded an NHL team.
Daniel Negreanu has long been part of Las Vegas’ drive to land an NHL team, but now the world famous poker star might want to become part of the ownership group.
According to the Toronto Sun’s Mike Strobel, Negreanu, 41, could be looking to become more than just an ambassador for an NHL team putting down roots in ‘Sin City.’
“The idea of owning a piece of an NHL team is the coolest thing ever,” Negreanu told Strobel. And with Negreanu having career earnings in the tens of millions, he certainly has the cash to be able to buy a small piece of his dream should the team end up in Vegas.
That Negreanu, who has been a huge supporter of the NHL to Las Vegas, wants to get more involved than helping with the ticket drive comes as no surprise. Negreanu was outspoken during Las Vegas’ season seat campaign — he was part of the “Founding 75,” a group to help promote the NHL in Las Vegas — and he told Strobel that he believes there’s a “99.9 percent” chance that Vegas gets a team.
“I just don’t see it not happening,” Negreanu told Strobel. “We have a solid owner, an arena and we sold 13,000 season tickets. Vegas has 2.2 million people. It’s a sports town. We’ve been starving for a professional franchise of any kind for many years.”
This isn’t the first time Negreanu has publicly shown his interest in signing up to own a piece of the potential franchise, either. In May, Negreanu spoke with The Hockey News about Las Vegas’ expansion bid and said he was open to joining the ownership group.
“Going forward, once the franchise is awarded, I may be involved as a minority owner,” Negreanu told THN.com.
Rest assured, Negreanu, one of the winningest tournament poker players in history, knows all about weighing out risks and rewards. He wouldn’t be interested in coming aboard what he believed to be a sinking ship. Negreanu believes in what the Las Vegas ownership group is doing, he’s optimistic about the city’s ability to support an NHL team and he knows there are benefits to putting a team in Las Vegas that other cities don’t have and can’t offer.
“People here will learn to love hockey, and this city has the added bonus of tourism,” he told THN.com in May. “People don’t go to Columbus to watch the Blue Jackets and make a vacation out of it. That will happen with the Vegas team.”
And in five years, the club could be another San Jose, Los Angeles or Anaheim: a warm-weather locale with strong attendance that becomes a big success for the ownership group and the NHL. If that’s the case and Negreanu hops aboard, chalk it up as another victory for the man they call ‘Kid Poker.’