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Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the crowd before the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Ever-Changing NHL: Las Vegas

Las Vegas and the NHL? Becoming a new focus point for expansion, what makes sense and what seems silly when it comes to the league expanding?

The Las Vegas Aces? Blackjacks? Robbers? Exotic Dancers? The list goes on and on.

Headlining the news in the hockey world today, it seems clear that the NHL has it’s sights set on putting a team in Sin City, reportedly a done deal. Crazy right? Who would have thought that the first professional sports team to make it’s presence in Las Vegas would be a hockey team? Other leagues have shown some slight interest in placing an organization there, but is it reasonable?

In my eyes, it’s not necessary. In my eyes, it looks like the only thing it could bring is money. So of course it tops the list.

Numerous cities seem a better fit for an expansion before Vegas. Those sites include the likes of Seattle, Quebec and maybe by a stretch Kansas City. Does Vegas fit a bid? Maybe. But the league needs to focus on a five to ten year plan before making any concrete move.

Las Vegas has definitely been making moves, announcing the MGM-AEG arena. The roughly 20,000-seat arena is set to be completed in 2016 and been a placement on the Vegas strip, which could prove to pay off. But how can they gain a fanbase? Well, for Vegas, thats simple.

Gambling.

I believe it goes without saying, but I’ll have a hard time believing that an NHL team in the most notorious casino city will not put some form of casino-esque feeling in their arena. But, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t think of it. You put 20,000 people under one roof, throw some tables in a club or suite and voila, you have a very large casino to keep people busy during the long intermissions.

While I pretty much just contradicted myself, I will attribute that to my lack of understanding just how well a team in Las Vegas would do. MY only problem would be establishing a fanbase in a city that is very come and go. Not to forget about the people who actually live there, but that goes with any tourist destination, with a high visitor type atmosphere, are there really any dedicated hockey fans who reside in Las Vegas and the surrounding area?

In my eyes, so strictly opinionated, Las Vegas is seen more as a vacation spot than a residential-type of city. Yes people live there, but there is more focus on the people who are in and out on a weekly basis.

Of course, the Pawn Stars could serve as General Managers and offer up some pretty hard proposals.

“Oh you want to trade so and so for so and so? Ok, give us Sydney Crosby and $1 million along with it.”

All jokes aside, it is a risk, but is it the risk that the league wants to take right now? Quite literally, it’s a gamble. It’s like betting your wife/girlfriend, house and your car on green 0. It could happen and work out, or you’re walking out with your tail in between your legs.

 

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