NHL approves Las Vegas expansion team

Team will begin play in 2017-18 NHL season

The NHL officially announced Wednesday it has chosen Las Vegas to join the league as an expansion team.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made the announcement after the league's Board of Governors voted unanimously in favor of the proposal during a meeting in Las Vegas.

The franchise, which won't begin play until the 2017-18 season, will be the NHL's 31st team and the first major professional sports team in Las Vegas.

The city says it has more than 14,000 season-ticket commitments for a team that would play in T-Mobile Arena, a new 20,000-seat multipurpose facility located just off the Las Vegas Strip.

Bettman said the expansion fee for the new team will be $500 million. That's quite the increase from the $80 million each the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets paid to join the league in 2000, the last time the NHL expanded.

The league will eventually hold an expansion draft to help stock the Las Vegas team's roster with players off other teams' rosters before the 2017-18 season. Bill Foley, the billionaire businessman who led the drive to bring the team to Vegas, said the team name has not yet been decided.

Quebec City had also been considered for expansion, but the board decided to "defer" the Canadian city's application. Bettman said several factors played a part in that decision, including the fluctuation of the Canadian dollar, geographic issues and other considerations.

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