NHL will explore expansion, with Seattle among candidates

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The NHL is officially exploring expansion.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday that the league is opening an expansion review process to consider whether to add new franchises to its 30-team league.

Bettman cited Las Vegas, Seattle and Quebec City as the markets that have expressed the most serious interest.

The Board of Governors decided that the NHL will take formal applications for a new franchise starting July 6 and closing Aug. 10.

The league hasn't made decisions on a timeline, any terms of expansion or the number of clubs to be added.

But the NHL doesn't anticipate adding any teams before the 2017-18 season, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says.

Bettman indicated that an expansion fee would be at least $500 million to be distributed among the existing clubs.