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NHL expansion candidates: What makes sense and what doesn't

Las Vegas is considered a candidate for NHL expansion. (Fotolia)

Las Vegas is considered a candidate for NHL expansion. (Fotolia)

Mike Zeisberger, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:25 AM ET

Mike Zeisberger breaks down the five cities that keep coming up as potential landing spots for NHL expansion franchises.

SEATTLE

WHY IT MAKES SENSE

Would be a natural rival for Vancouver, just 21/2 hours to the north ... For the most part, support for the CHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds has been strong there over the years, an indication that there is a thirst for the sport there ... Gary Bettman visited Seattle in May for an update on a proposed new arena ... Billionaire Victor Coleman, who grew up in Vancouver, and Seattle-based Chris Hansen, reportedly have an agreement in place regarding NHL expansion, with Coleman calling the NHL in Seattle “a perfect match.” ... Graphic design students Matt McElroy and Dylan Alexander even came up with some uniform concepts for the “Seattle Sea Lions” and posted them on the world wide web for all to see.

QUESTION MARKS

Will the arena ever advance from the proposed stage? ... Meanwhile, how do you overcome the fact that local government officials are more interested in bringing the NBA back to Seattle as opposed to wooing the NHL? ... Hansen, by the way, has made unsuccessful bids to relocate the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings. What happened?

LAS VEGAS

WHY IT MAKES SENSE

The facility: MGM and AEG are in the process of building a 20,000-seat facility that might be done by the spring of 2017 ... In the meantime, either UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center or Orleans Arena could be short-term options ... The league has already attempted to establish a footprint in Sin City by holding its annual awards show there each June ... Imagine if the NHL was the first of the Big Four North American pro sports leagues to have a franchise in Vegas? Can’t you see the smile on Bettman’s face right now? ... Would make geographical sense in terms of being a natural rival with Arizona and the three California-based teams.

QUESTION MARKS

Who would own the team? There has been plenty of speculation over the years but nothing firm as of yet ... More importantly, what could happen to sportsbooks if the NHL is the first of the Big Four to put a franchise there? That might be the most pressing query of all ... And while we’re at it, while the financial benefits are obvious, does the league really NEED another team in the Sunbelt? Especially Vegas, which potentially is a volatile market because there is so much to do there other than go to hockey games.

FOR THE REST OF ZEIS'S ANALYSIS, CLICK BELOW


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