NHL open to another expansion franchise  

NHL open to another expansion franchise

Well, well, well… Third time’s a charm?



Atlanta could be back on the NHL map. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealed during the NHL/NHLPA player media tour on Tuesday that he feels optimistic a third franchise in Atlanta would yield better results than two previous failed expansion teams in the market.

“I think some of the challenges that we’ve seen in the past in Atlanta can be overcome,” Daly told ESPN.

“I think times have changed pretty dramatically and the market demographics have changed pretty dramatically since the first time we went there and then again in 1999. I think a lot of bigger businesses are in Atlanta (now).”

While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman keeps saying that expansion isn’t currently a priority for the league, you have to believe Atlanta and the fanbase there have heard what Daly said about a third attempt at an NHL franchise down there.

The NHL first ventured to Atlanta in 1972 and stay until 1980 before the Flames relocated to Calgary. Then, the Thrashers entered the league in 1999 but became the Winnipeg Jets in 2011.

The last two expansions that have taken place in place in the NHL have shown great success with the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken, which has generated more interest from potential owners, per Daly.

“There are potential markets that may be suitable for NHL hockey, so our policy is really an open-door policy,” he said. “If you are interested and have a plan, come see us and certainly we’ll evaluate it from there. If it becomes something our owners are interested in, we can pursue it. Nothing has risen to that level currently, but that could change.”

Atlanta isn’t the only city that has been tabbed as a potential future NHL destination. Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith recently mentioned how he’s keen on bringing a franchise to the area.

Many fans wonder what this could mean for the future of the Coyotes in Arizona, especially since their failed bid to secure a new arena deal in Tempe.

While Bettman maintains expansion isn’t in the cards, you have to wonder if relocation will have to be.

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Source: ESPN