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NHL unanimously approves expansion franchise for Las Vegas

The NHL viewed the Las Vegas market as a lock, not a gamble, so the city will be home to the league's 31st team starting with the 2017-18 season.

The NHL's board of governors unanimously approved an expansion franchise for Las Vegas on Wednesday. The unnamed team will join the Western Conference's Pacific Division. Owner Bill Foley paid a $500 million expansion fee that will be split by the league's 30 teams, meaning the Sabres' Terry Pegula and his fellow owners will receive more than $16 million each.

"We think this is a tremendously exciting opportunity, not just for Las Vegas but for the league as well," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The strength of the Las Vegas bid, the success of the ticket drive and the unique appeal of the market led the executive committee and subsequently the board of governors to determine expansion is not only appropriate but is important to the league's continued growth and momentum."

The league will hold an expansion draft next June, and every team will lose one player to the new club.

 

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