Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Concrete(?) expansion talk
By Victoria Matiash
A former executive director of the NHLPA has offered up substantial (and promising) gossip for hockey fans in the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec City.
As reported by the CBC's Elliotte Friedman, Paul Kelly said the NHL hoped to expand the league to 32 teams, and discussed such plans during his tenure (2007-2009).
Kelly offered these tidbits during a meeting of Markham city councillors in which opponents of a proposed 20,000-seat arena filed a motion to halt the project. The motion was voted down, 7-6.
"I've discussed it with many owners, the commissioner and many players," Kelly said. "That's given me a strong sense that at some point there will be a second team [in the greater Toronto area]."
And the former union head didn't shy away from specifics -- adding expansion could take place, in his belief, in the next two or three years. "Most likely" to Quebec City and Toronto.
"You're not going to wait until the back end of a CBA, when you will be under negotiation again...[Expansion] balances re-alignment; increases revenue streams. It adds $80-100 million US to the [Hockey Related Revenue] pie ... Quebec City had a franchise before and it served the sport well ..."
To be clear, Kelly made the comments as a member of the arena project's team.
For more on this subject, ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun offers his insight.