The Slatest

NHL Will Become First Major Sports League to Put a Team in Las Vegas

Guests play slot machines on the casino floor at the Riviera Hotel & Casino on April 30, 2015, in Las Vegas.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The National Hockey League is heading to Las Vegas with a new franchise that will be up and running for the 2017–18 season. The move makes the NHL the first major sports league to locate a team in the city, which has generally been avoided because of the city’s side hustle as a global gambling center. Opposition to pro sports franchises in Las Vegas appears to be softening among the pro leagues and the NHL approved the move after a unanimous vote by its Board of Governors, positioning the new team in the Pacific Division of the NHL Western Conference.

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The franchise will be the NHL’s 31st team and the first expansion club since 2000. The team will play on the Vegas Strip in the newly built T-Mobile Arena, inaugurated in April, which can hold 17,500 people when aligned for hockey.

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Here’s more on the move from ESPN:

The move to Las Vegas completes a longtime relationship with the city and the NHL. The NHL’s postseason awards show, which will be held on Wednesday evening, has been hosted in Las Vegas since 2009. The Los Angeles Kings have played in several exhibition games in Las Vegas, including a 1991 outdoor game against the New York Rangers in the Caesars Palace parking lot. The approval of Las Vegas as the next NHL city temporarily puts Quebec City’s hopes of landing a team on hold.

“Some observers believe Las Vegas will have a hard time supporting a pro team because so many residents are from elsewhere and root for the teams they grew up with,” the New York Times reports. “Many also work in the tourism industry and are busy on game days.”

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